January 10, 2009
Report from Rafah: Doctors Stopped At Borders
By Bill Quigley [duprestar at yahoo.com]
Bill is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola
Dr. Nicolas Doussis-Rassias and many other volunteer doctors have been waiting in Rafah,
Rafah is a heavily armed Egyptian border crossing into Gaza, a four hour drive away from
"Three thousand victims of bombs and gunfire would overwhelm the medical system of
But today, instead of helping the thousands of wounded, Nicolas and other doctors are holding up a hand lettered red and blue banner outside the Egyptian border station saying - Let the Doctors Through!
Why? Doctors of Peace and numerous other doctors from around the world have been prevented from entering
Nicolasis not an anti-Israeli radical. He is a jolly 49 year old
But the borders of
Richard Falk, the UN Special Reporter on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, pointed out the human rights violations of the sealed border: "Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza's besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims."
The people of
Falk, like many others, also condemned the rocket attacks launched from
Frida Berrigan pointed out that "During the Bush administration
Palestinian medical officials say more than half of the 800 dead and 3000 wounded are civilians. Denial of humanitarian and medical assistance to civilian casualties is a clear violation of basic human rights.
The people of
After seven days, the border is starting to open a little. The
Doctors of Peace were still not allowed in today. Some physicians, tired from the seven day blockade, have started to return home.
Nicolas is going back to the Rafah border crossing tomorrow to try again. Why? "Because there are 3000 injured people who need help. I am going to keep trying."
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs