As the Middle East faces a dramatic escalation in conflict, the Union des Organisations de Secours et Soins Médicaux (UOSSM) is urgently calling for an immediate end to hostilities that have wreaked havoc on civilian lives since 7 October .
The situation intensified alarmingly when Israel’s military issued sweeping evacuation orders, affecting almost half of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants, adding a new dimension of fear and uncertainty to an already grave humanitarian crisis.
UOSSM, initiated by Syrian doctors worldwide and a crucial provider of medical aid across national, ethnic, gender, religious, and political divides since 2012, vehemently condemned the recent upsurge in violence. The organization underscored the catastrophic impact on civilians and the blatant violation of international humanitarian law.
Dr Ghanem Tayara, President of UOSSM International, stated, “The principles of war still uphold the sanctity of human life. Civilians, infrastructure, and especially medical facilities must not be targets. These recent actions are unconscionable breaches of international norms.”
The crisis reached a tipping point in the early hours of last Friday when Israel’s military, citing the presence of Hamas militants in subterranean tunnels, intensified their operations following a horrific attack that resulted in more than 1,400 civilian fatalities in Israel. Israel mandated the mass displacement of civilians southward within the Gaza Strip, a region already reeling under severe Israeli airstrikes and a comprehensive blockade.
The latter, identified by the UN as a war crime, has halted the essential inflow of food, fuel, and medical provisions, exponentially compounding the humanitarian disaster.
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, expressed profound concern, relaying directives from the Israeli Defense Forces that instructed nearly 1.1 million northerners in Gaza, including UN personnel, to relocate within a 24-hour timeframe.
This directive encompasses those taking refuge in UN-operated facilities, where the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) currently shelters over 60% of the 423,000 newly displaced individuals in the Gaza Strip.
“The United Nations views this large-scale displacement as unfeasible without triggering devastating humanitarian outcomes,” Dujarric articulated, appealing for the withdrawal of such orders to prevent exacerbating the existing tragedy.
Amid these developments, UOSSM emphasizes the dire need for protecting all humanitarian and medical staff, citing the recent killings of eleven healthcare professionals and the assault on 34 medical facilities.
This catastrophe unfolds within a broader geopolitical context marked by high civilian casualties, widespread displacement, and unrelenting structural damage. International dialogue seeks potential resolutions, such as opening Egypt’s border crossing with Gaza for aid and refugees, though a diplomatic breakthrough remains elusive.
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