Monday, February 2, 2009

'Inhumane' to block basic medical care

US doctors face challenges in crippled Gaza
Washington Post: Doctors from the United States who rushed to the Gaza Strip to help the war wounded quickly learned that their challenge went beyond treating shrapnel injuries. The eight American specialists found themselves operating on patients who had fallen victim to the 20-month border closure that had crippled Gaza's health care system even before Israel's offensive against Hamas... It's been difficult for Gaza patients to get out, ever since Israel and Egypt closed the borders... 

On the eve of the war, Gaza's hospitals had run out of 250 of the basic 1,000 health care items, and were short on 105 of 480 essential drugs, including some cancer medications and anesthetics, said Mahmoud Daher, a representative of the World Health Organization. In this vulnerable condition, disaster struck... The American doctors were careful to stay away from politics -- the lifting of the closure is linked to complex negotiations between Israel, Hamas, Egypt and others. But Dr. Ahmed Colwell, an emergency room physician from Sioux City, Iowa, said at least the sick should be given relief. 'It's inhumane... to not allow them to even have basic medical care.'

Danger Room: The weapon typically amputates or tears apart lower limbs and patients do not survive... The only known focused-lethality munition is a version of the GBU-40 Small Diameter Bomb. The weapon has been sold to Israel; Danger Room reported last month that the Israeli Defense Forces were using it in Gaza. But there are two problems. First, the Israelis seem to have bought the original version, not the FLM. And secondly, as Ares reported, Boeing has stated that it has not made any deliveries of the weapon to Tel Aviv, yet... Ares speculated that the IDF is using weapons supplied by the US Air Force; a spokesman told the site that 'we cannot release sensitive information on foreign military sales.'
Image: El Shafa Hospital, 2006 by Zoriah Miller via BAGnewsNotes