Birth under bombs: 9 months of hell

9 months on from the escalation of violence in Gaza, women there are now 3 times more likely to miscarry and 3 times more likely to die in childbirth.

Imagine being pregnant and knowing you are three times more likely to miscarry.
Imagine being pregnant and knowing you are three times more likely to die in childbirth.
Imagine being pregnant and experiencing the fear of death every single day.
Imagine being pregnant and feeling like the world has completely forgotten you.

This is the hell pregnant women in Gaza are living through every day.

In the 9 months, or 40 weeks, that the violence in Gaza has now raged on, women there have conceived, miscarried, and birthed their babies. Instead of spending 9 months safely and hopefully preparing for the birth of their baby, these women have spent the entirety of their pregnancy in constant fear.

22-year-old Diana discovered she was pregnant shortly after violence escalated last October and gave birth to her son, Yaman, under intense bombing and gunfire late last week.

“I had a difficult labour. I was so frightened as the bombing was intense and didn’t stop even for a minute. My mother was so afraid for me and the baby – she prayed and prayed that we’d still be alive by dawn.

“I gave birth to my son, Yaman at about 2am. There was no special care for the baby when he was born, and he was not fully examined. He has jaundice now which has affected his brain.”

Diana is not alone. Over 50,000 women are currently pregnant in Gaza. Around 180 are due to give birth today, but not all of them will make it that far. Pregnant women in Gaza have experienced so much trauma since October that they are three times more likely to miscarry than they were before.

For those who defy the odds and manage to carry their pregnancy to full-term, the likelihood is they will be forced to give birth in a tent, a temporary shelter, or even in the streets amid rubble. They will do this without painkillers, while bombs continue to drop around them, knowing that they are now three times more likely to die giving birth.

Expressing concern on forgetting women and their experiences in this conflict, Hiba Al Hejazi, CARE’s Regional Advocacy Advisor for the MENA Region said: “It’s abhorrent that women, and their experiences in this conflict, have largely been forgotten.

The international community has to step up and put them front and centre. We need a gendered response to this conflict, one that prioritises the needs and experiences of women, and funds the women leading their communities through crisis. We urgently need governments to use their diplomatic powers and bring an end to a conflict that is destroying lives, many that have only just begun.”

CARE International’s Palestinian partner in Gaza, Juzoor, has set up clinics offering ante- and post-natal care, and mobilised volunteers from its network of midwives to assist vulnerable women to deliver births safely in their shelters with specialised equipment. CARE has also distributed 5,500 Baby Kits, containing essential products such as baby clothes and sterilising wipes for pregnant mothers, many of whom have lost everything.

For media inquiries, please contact

Posted in War | Comments Off on Birth under bombs: 9 months of hell

Gaza nine months on, pregnant women carry the burden of conflict

Jerusalem, 9 July 2024: Nine months on since the start of the Israeli aggression in Gaza, maternal healthcare is almost decimated. Pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women in Gaza are facing serious health consequences. Miscarriages have risen at least 300% since October last year. One of our own health workers from the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) recently lost her pregnancy due to the stress of the attacks.

“I am a healthcare worker with PFPPA, and I have been forced to flee not once, not twice, but six times since the start of the violence, with my husband and three small children. Our home was destroyed by bombing. Whilst I was fleeing from one location to another, I started to unexpectedly bleed. I was able to find a doctor only after reaching Rafah, who confirmed I was miscarrying. I didn’t even realise I was pregnant,” Wafa, our healthcare worker in Gaza, told us.

With the starvation being faced by the people in Gaza in addition to the lack of drinking water, our service providers are reporting on daily basis of pregnant women suffering from anaemia, malnutrition and in desperate need of prenatal vitamins and supplements.

Our service providers in Gaza are also witnessing many women who are either having premature deliveries or miscarriages. Women of newborns are unable to breastfeed their babies due their own malnutrition and anxiety, while at the same time most families cannot afford milk formula as prices are becoming extremely high – and that is if they can find it in the market. When medical facilities are available, many women are unwilling to leave their shelters to obtain pre- and post-natal care, as they worry if they are separated from their families there will be military attacks and bombings and fear for their and their loved one’s fate if they do so.

Ammal Awadallah, Executive Director of PFPPA, said:

“Nine months on, and a woman who conceived at the start of these hostilities will now be giving birth. But where, how, and what life is that baby entering? This will be a lost generation in Gaza, a generation born into genocide. We’re doing the best we can to offer support to women in Gaza, but the conditions to get aid into Gaza, let alone warehouse supplies, make our jobs extremely difficult. PFPPA has always been committed to women’s health and that doesn’t stop, now or ever.”

Over 37,900 people have now lost their lives in Gaza. Women and girls that survive are facing a myriad of challenges; deprived of sexual and reproductive health services, sanitary and hygiene products. We believe every single person and organisation needs to mobilise to end this, by calling on their governments to demand unhindered humanitarian aid access, to demand a permanent ceasefire, and divest from any organisations aiding and abetting Israel’s military campaign against Palestine.

We are working in close collaboration with colleagues in Palestine on how best to serve those caught up in the violence, to ensure health workers are safe and able to provide sexual and reproductive health care without threat to life.

For more information and to speak to our Executive Director in Palestine, please email

About the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association

Established in Jerusalem in 1964, the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) is locally registered as an independent, non-profit and non-governmental association with headquarters in Jerusalem. PFPPA has service delivery points located in the West Bank Areas of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and Halhoul, in addition to one in the Gaza Strip, which has yet to be relocated after it was destroyed following an Israeli airstrike on 8 October. Furthermore, and in cooperation with local partners, PFPPA is also responsible for three safe spaces to provide Gender Based Violence (GBV) related services in the Jerusalem area.

About the International Planned Parenthood Federation

IPPF is a global healthcare provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for all. Led by a courageous and determined group of women, IPPF was founded in 1952 at the Third International Planned Parenthood Conference. Today, we are a movement of 150 Member Associations and Collaborative Partners with a presence in over 146 countries.

Our work is wide-ranging, including comprehensive sex education, provision of contraceptive, safe abortion, and maternal care and responding to humanitarian crises. We pride ourselves on being local through our members and global through our network. At the heart of our mission is the provision of – and advocacy in support of – integrated healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, gender, sex, income, and crucially no matter how remote

Posted in War | Comments Off on Gaza nine months on, pregnant women carry the burden of conflict

LIVE UPDATES: Israeli weapons with shrapnel designed to maximise casualties, doctors say

Surgeons volunteering in Gaza have reported catastrophic injuries among children caused by Israeli-made weapons designed to maximise shrapnel dispersion, resulting in severe casualties, according to The Guardian on Thursday.

July 2, 2024 at 8:40 am

A Palestinian child receives medical treatment at Al Ahli Baptist Hospital after getting severely injured in an Israeli attack over Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City, Gaza on July 07, 2024. [Dawoud Abo Alkas – Anadolu Agency]

Surgeons who worked in European and al-Aqsa hospitals describe extensive wounds caused by ‘fragmentation’ shrapnel experts say is designed to maximize casualties

Israeli-made weapons designed to spray high levels of shrapnel are causing horrific injuries to civilians in Gaza and disproportionately harming children, foreign surgeons who worked in the territory in recent months have told the Guardian.

The doctors say many of the deaths, amputations and life changing wounds to children they have treated came from the firing of missiles and shells – in areas crowded with civilians – packed with additional metal designed to fragment into tiny pieces of shrapnel.

Volunteer doctors at two Gaza hospitals said that a majority of their operations were on children hit by small pieces of shrapnel that leave barely discernible entry wounds but create extensive destruction inside the body. Amnesty International has said that the weapons appear designed to maximise casualties.

Feroze Sidhwa, a trauma surgeon from California, worked at the European hospital in southern Gaza in April.

“About half of the injuries I took care of were in young kids. We saw a lot of so-called splinter injuries that were very, very small to the point that you easily missed them while examining a patient. Much, much smaller than anything I’ve seen before but they caused tremendous damage on the inside,” he said.

Weapons experts said the shrapnel and wounds are consistent with Israeli-made weapons designed to create large numbers of casualties unlike more conventional weapons used to destroy buildings. The experts question why they are being fired into areas packed with civilians.

an x-ray showing damage from fragmentation shrapnel
X-ray of the damage done to a 15-year-old’s leg by fragmentation shrapnel, some of which is still lodged in the bone. The surgeon said: “The shrapnel entered from the left into the tibia bone and exited through the fibula to the right of the image. Our word for very smashed bone is ‘comminuted’. Bone comminution does not get greater than this.” The surgeon has put in a stainless steel plate screwed into the tibia. Photograph: The Guardian

The Guardian spoke to six foreign doctors who have worked at two hospitals in Gaza, the European and al-Aqsa, in the last three months. All of them described encountering extensive wounds caused by “fragmentation” weapons, which they said have contributed to alarming rates of amputations since the war began. They said the injuries were seen in adults and children but that the damage done was likely to be more severe to younger bodies.

“Children are more vulnerable to any penetrating injury because they have smaller bodies. Their vital parts are smaller and easier to disrupt. When children have lacerated blood vessels, their blood vessels are already so small it’s very hard to put them back together. The artery that feeds the leg, the femoral artery, is only the thickness of a noodle in a small child. It’s very, very small. So repairing it and keeping the kid’s limb attached to them is very difficult,” Sidhwa said.

Mark Perlmutter, an orthopaedic surgeon from North Carolina, worked at the same hospital as Sidhwa.

“By far the most common wounds are one or two millimetre entry and exit wounds,” he said.

“X-rays showed demolished bones with a pinhole wound on one side, a pinhole on the other, and a bone that looks like a tractor trailer drove over it. The children we operated on, most of them had these small entrance and exit points.”

Perlmutter said children hit by multiple pieces of tiny shards often died and many of those who survived lost limbs.

“Most of the kids that survived had neurologic injuries and vascular injuries, a major cause of amputation. The blood vessels or the nerves get hit, and they come in a day later and the leg is dead or the arm is dead,” he said.

Sanjay Adusumilli⁩, an Australian surgeon who worked at the al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza in April, recovered shrapnel made up of small metal cubes about three millimetres wide while operating on a young boy. He described wounds from fragmentation weapons distinguished by the shards of shrapnel destroying bone and organs while leaving just a scratch on the skin.

Explosives experts who reviewed pictures of the shrapnel and the doctors’ descriptions of the wounds said they were consistent with bombs and shells fitted with a “fragmentation sleeve” around the explosive warhead in order to maximise casualties. Their use has also been documented in past Israeli offensives in Gaza.

Trevor Ball, a former US army explosive ordnance disposal technician, said the explosive sprays out tungsten cubes and ball bearings that are far more lethal than the blast itself.

“These balls and cubes are the main fragmentation effect from these munitions, with the munition casing providing a much smaller portion of the fragmentation effect. Most traditional artillery rounds and bombs rely on the munition casing itself rather than added fragmentation liners,” he said.

Cubes removed from a child by Sanjay Adusumilli, an Australian surgeon working at the al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza.
Cubes removed from a child by Sanjay Adusumilli, an Australian surgeon working at the al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza. Photograph: Obtained by The Guardian

Ball said the metal cubes recovered by Adusumilli are typically found in Israeli-made weapons such as certain types of Spike missiles fired from drones. He said the doctors’ accounts of tiny entry wounds are also consistent with glide bombs and tank rounds fitted with fragmentation sleeves such as the M329 APAM shell, which is designed to penetrate buildings, and the M339 round which its manufacturer, Elbit Systems of Haifa, describes as “highly lethal against dismounted infantry”.

Some of the weapons are designed to penetrate buildings and kill everyone within the walls. But when they are dropped onto streets or among tents, there is no such containment.

“The issue comes with how these small munitions are being employed,” said Ball. “Even a relatively small munition employed in a crowded space, especially a space with little to no protection against fragmentation, such as a refugee camp with tents, can lead to significant deaths and injuries.”

Amnesty International first identified ammunition packed with the metal cubes used in Spike missiles in Gaza in 2009.

“They appear designed to cause maximum injury and, in some respects, seem to be a more sophisticated version of the ball-bearings or nails and bolts which armed groups often pack into crude rockets and suicide bombs,” Amnesty said in a report at the time.

Ball said that weapons fitted with fragmentation sleeves are “relatively small munitions” compared with the bombs that have a wide blast area and have damaged or destroyed more than half the buildings in Gaza. But because they are packed with additional metal, they are very deadly in the immediate vicinity. The shrapnel from a Spike missile typically kills and severely wounds over a 20-metre (65-ft) radius.

Another weapons expert, who declined to be named because he sometimes works for the US government, questioned the use of such weapons in areas of Gaza crowded with civilians.

“The claim is that these weapons are more precise and limit casualties to a smaller area. But when they are fired into areas with high concentrations of civilians living in the open with nowhere to shelter, the military knows that most of the casualties will be those civilians,” he said.

In response to questions about the use of fragmentation weapons in areas with concentrations of civilians, the Israel Defense Forces said that military commanders are required “to consider the various means of warfare that are equally capable of achieving a defined military objective, and to choose the means that is expected to cause the least incidental damage under the circumstances.

“The IDF makes various efforts to reduce harm to civilians to the extent feasible in the operational circumstances ruling at the time of the strike,” it said.

“The IDF reviews targets before strikes and chooses the proper munition in accordance with operational and humanitarian considerations, taking into account an assessment of the relevant structural and geographical features of the target, the target’s environment, possible effects on nearby civilians, critical infrastructure in the vicinity, and more.”

The UN children’s agency, Unicef has said that “staggering” numbers of children have been wounded in Israel’s assault on Gaza. The United Nations estimates that Israel has killed more than 38,000 people in Gaza in the present war of which at least 8,000 are confirmed to be children, although the actual figure is likely to be much higher. Tens of thousands have been wounded.

In June, the UN added Israel to a list of states committing violations against children during conflict, describing the scale of killing in Gaza as “an unprecedented scale and intensity of grave violations against children”, principally by Israeli forces.

Many of the cases recalled by the surgeons involved children severely injured when missiles landed in or near areas where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are living in tents after being driven from their homes by the Israeli assault.

an x-ray shows shrapnel lodged in a body
An X-ray of a man with tiny pieces of shrapnel (the white specks) in his body. Photograph: The Guardian

Perlmutter described repeatedly encountering similar wounds.

“Most of our patients were under 16,” he said. “The exit wound is only a couple millimetres big. The entrance wound is that big or smaller. But you can see it is extremely high velocity because of the damage it does on the inside. When you have multiple small fragments travelling at insane speeds, it does soft tissue damage that far outweighs the size of the fragment.”

Adusumilli⁩ described treating a six-year-old boy who arrived at the hospital after an Israeli missile strike close to the tent where his family was living after fleeing their home under Israeli bombardment. The surgeon said the child had pinhole wounds that gave no indication of the scale of the damage beneath the skin.

“I had to open his abdomen and chest. He had lacerations to his lung, to his heart, and holes throughout his intestine. We had to repair everything. He was lucky that there was a bed in the intensive care unit. But, despite that, that young boy died two days later,” he said.

An American emergency room doctor now working in central Gaza, who did not want to be named for fear of jeopardising his work there, said that medics continue to treat deeply penetrating wounds created by fragmentation shards. The doctor said he had just worked on a child who suffered wounds to his heart and major blood vessels, and a build up of blood between his ribs and lungs that made it difficult to breathe.

Sidhwa said that “about half of the patients that we took care of were children”. He kept notes on several, including a nine year-old girl, Jouri, who was severely injured by shards of shrapnel in an air strike on Rafah.

“We found Jouri dying of sepsis in a corner. We took her to the operating room and found that both of her buttocks had been completely flayed open. The lowest bone in her pelvis was actually exposed to the skin. These wounds were covered in maggots. Her left leg she was missing a big chunk of the the muscles on the front and back of the leg, and then about two inches of her femur. The bone in the leg was just gone,” he said.

Sidhwa said doctors were able to save Jouri’s life and treat septic shock. But in order to save what remained of her leg, the surgeons shortened it during repeated operations.

The problem, said Sidhwa, is that Jouri will need constant care for years to come and she’s unlikely to find it in Gaza.

“She needs advanced surgical intervention every one to two years years as she grows to bring her left femur back to the length it needs to be to match her right leg, otherwise walking will be impossible,” he said.

“If she does not get out of Gaza, if she survives at all, she will be permanently and completely crippled.”

Adusumilli⁩ said fragmentation weapons resulted in high numbers of amputations among children who survived.

“It was unbelievable the number of amputations we had to do, especially on children, he said. “The option you’ve got to save their life is to amputate their leg or their hands or their arms. It was a constant flow of amputations every day.”

Adusumilli operated on a seven year-old girl who was hit by shrapnel from a missile that landed near her family’s tent.

A 15-year-old malnourished boy with a pinhole wound in the middle of his chest.
A 15-year-old malnourished boy with a pinhole wound in the middle of his chest. Photograph: The Guardian

“She came in with her left arm completely blown off. Her family brought the arm in wrapped in a towel and in a bag. She had shrapnel injuries to her abdomen so I had to open up her abdomen and control the bleeding. She ended up having her left arm amputated,” he said.

“She survived but the reason I remember her is because as I was rushing into the operating theatre, she reminded me of my own daughter and it sort of it was very difficult to accept emotionally.”

Unicef estimated that in the first 10 weeks of the conflict alone about 1,000 children lost one or both of their legs to amputations.

The doctors said that many of the limbs could be saved in more normal circumstances but that shortages of medicines and operating theatres limited surgeons to carrying out emergency procedures to save lives. Some children endured amputations without anaesthetic or painkillers afterwards which hindered their recovery alongside the challenges of rampant infections because of unsanitary conditions and lack of antibiotics.

Adusumilli said that, as a result, some children saved on the operating table died later when they could have been saved in different conditions.

“The sad part is that you do what you can to try and help these kids. But at the end of the day, the fact that the hospital is so overcrowded and doesn’t have the resources in intensive care, they just end up dying later on.”

Posted in War | Comments Off on LIVE UPDATES: Israeli weapons with shrapnel designed to maximise casualties, doctors say

Veterans For Peace: U.S. Army Major Quits Over Israel [video] For Peace: U.S. Army Major Quits Over Israel <p data-wpview-marker=

Army Major Harrison Mann has resigned over action in Gaza (photo)

What bothered this intelligence officer specializing in the Middle East the most: his view that the Israelis were targeting Palestinian civilians indiscriminately and that US weapons made it possible.

Veterans For Peace, June 7, 2024

Army Major Harrison Mann will be speaking at the Veterans for Peace national convention in August! Details on attending the online event coming soon.

Veterans for Peace is an organization founded in 1985. Initially made up of US military veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War – later including veterans of the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War — as well as peacetime veterans and non-veterans, it has since spread overseas and has an active offshoot in the United Kingdom. The group works to promote alternatives to war.

List of Government Resignees —

  • Josh Paul, director of the State Department’s bureau of political military affairs.
  • Harrison Mann, a U.S. Army major and Defense Intelligence Agency official.
  • Tariq Habash, special assistant in the Education Department’s office of planning.
  • Annelle Sheline, from the State Department’s human rights bureau.
  • Hala Rharrit, an Arabic language spokesperson for the State Department.
  • Lily Greenberg Call, special assistant to the chief of staff in the Interior Department.
  • Alexander Smith, a contractor for USAID.
  • Stacy Gilbert, State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

As a Jew I cannot endorse the Gaza catastrophe.” — Lily Greenberg Call.


Posted in War | Comments Off on Veterans For Peace: U.S. Army Major Quits Over Israel [video]

Stories of survival and suffering: inside Gaza’s Al-Aqsa Hospital

I arrived at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital on March 2 after surviving an attack that killed 14 members of my family. I was the sole survivor in my family. When I arrived at the hospital I was suffering from pelvic and acetabular fractures that kept me from walking or even standing.

Due to the lack of medical care and staff, I was unable to undergo the surgery I needed. Incapable of walking, I was allowed to stay in the hospital, among the many wounded women and children who were suffering the most.

From my bed in Room 7 on the third floor of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital I was able to witness the suffering of more than 25 wounded women and children. My bed was covered on three sides by a yellow curtain but I could still meet the others in my room, many of whom were severely burned and had undergone several surgeries under impossible medical conditions. I met others who received amputations, and many others who lost children. Others waited helplessly for their medical referrals, and many died while doing so. And those were just the cases I was able to see.

Injured Palestinians are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in Khan Younis on March 2, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)

The majority of the wounded I saw while on my rare trips through the hospital were burn victims. I especially remember several of the women and kids that came to Room 7 burnt and screaming their lungs out in pain.

Karima, 50, got injured during Ramadan’s first days. She lost 52 people of her family; including her son, his wife, and her grandchild among the martyrs. Her back and legs were completely burned. Screaming out of pain, she went for surgeries day after day. She could not undergo any operations during her first week in the hospital due to the severity of her injuries. She waited helplessly to be able to travel to receive the proper treatment, and she died 50 days after being injured. Those days echoed the 50 years she lived, but they were solely full of pain.

Injured Palestinians are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in Khan Younis on March 8, 2024. (Photo: Ali Hamad/APA Images)

On the first evening of Eid, four people came to Room 7 sobbing and screaming. The house beside theirs got bombed and shrapnel hit their gas supply. Nasra, a mother of two, was cooking Eid dinner when the bombing hit. The gas became a fireball within seconds and burned Nasra, 29, her daughter, Qamar, 2, her brother, Yousef, 13, and her nephew, Hasan, 1.

Within a week, little Hasan died. After multiple surgeries, the other three started to heal. Tragically, however, a month after being discharged from the hospital, Yousef’s house was bombed and he was burned again all over his body. He died three days later.

In May, Hala, 22, and her two-year-old son, Esam, were bombed while in their house and they were the sole survivors from under the rubble. Her back and both legs were burned and her son’s face and legs were, too. Both are waiting for the Rafah crossing to open to travel for medical care.

Wesam, 27, had been diagnosed with diabetes. She was living in a tent when a piece of wood cut her foot. The overwhelming number of injuries means that hospitals are not able to give each patient the time and treatment they need to recover. Doctors had no choice but to amputate her foot.

Asma’ tore my heart apart. She is only 16 years old. She looked a very nice, and was a neat and calm girl. While displaced in Al Nuseirat Camp, a piece of shrapnel severely wounded her right hand. Like many others, she waited for her medical referral for treatment. Unlike many others, after about 40 days, she finally received it.

Saja Junaid, 3, receiving treatment in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, on March 26, 2024. Junaid suffered deep burns on her face as a result of an Israeli bombing that targeted her home in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)

While I was in the hospital the wounded children’s floor grew overcrowded with many kids facing deadly injuries. To make room, many of them were transferred to the third floor which was the women’s floor.

Dana, only 3, got wounded by a quadcopter bullet while living in a tent. It cut through her stomach, kidney, and intestines and stopped near her heart. She underwent a difficult surgery, but still had the bullet stuck in her little body. Her father was martyred during the first days of this war but she kept crying for him. “Dad! I want my dad!”

Lubna had the most tragic story I heard. She is 13 and is the eldest daughter in her family. A missile hit her house in Khan Younis and killed her entire family but her. She lost her parents and all her siblings. After undergoing multiple surgeries, her aunts and uncles found it difficult to tell her the truth. They kept telling her that her parents were alive but severely injured. She left the hospital for her uncle’s house, still without knowing she was the only survivor in her family.

I befriended Mira, 6 years old. She was displaced in Deir El Balah and the building she was in got bombed by a shell. A shrapnel injured her right leg, creating a wide-open wound. Screaming, she got her wound cleaned out without any anesthetic. Even so young, and in so much pain, she would still insist on trying to brighten my mood, whenever she saw me sad.

It was seeing the wounded mothers who were suffering from both pain and loss that was the most devastating. It saddened me even more when they forgot about their own pain and thought only about their wounded or dead children.

Lina, 33, lost her two daughters in the bombardment of her neighbor’s home and her back was broken in the attack. Immediately, she underwent an operation. Incapable of walking or even a little movement, she just kept crying for her two babies.

I don’t think that Nasra once screamed from the pain of her own burns. Each time she did cry, she was crying for her injured two-year-old daughter.

Almost all women in Room 7 were mothers. Samar, 38, lost her youngest son, Sanad, and had her arm shattered. Amal, 36, had her leg crushed, and was confined to a surgical bed, leaving her kids, who visited her many times, to fend for themselves. Sabreen, 29, had gaping injuries in both legs, and a newborn baby. Ameer, her son, was only a month old when she was hurt and he was forced to live his second and third months in hospitals with his mother.

Almost 70% of the wounded need more complex surgeries and medical care than could be provided through the decimated health sector in Gaza and need to travel to receive it. I, for one, was not able to receive the proper medical treatment I needed, and I was also not given permission to travel. And there are many more like me, helplessly waiting her turn to travel. Karima died waiting. All patients are now waiting for an unknown amount of time since the Rafah crossing was closed on May 6.

Women and children in Gaza are suffering the most. My three yellow curtains deprived me of seeing most of these beautiful women and children. But hearing their stories, screams, and prayers was my window to the horrors they lived through.


Posted in War | Comments Off on Stories of survival and suffering: inside Gaza’s Al-Aqsa Hospital

“Beyond Horrific”: Report Says Israel Illegally Used White Phosphorus in Lebanon

White phosphorus burns at up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and burns through skin and bone

new investigation by human rights group Amnesty International has found that Israel likely committed a war crime by using the extremely caustic chemical white phosphorus along the southern border of Lebanon amidst intensified fighting against Hezbollah.

The group analyzed photos and videos surrounding an attack in several populated Lebanese border towns between October 10 and 16, 2023, and found evidence that Israel used white phosphorus smoke artillery shells in attacks on the area. Interviews with doctors and government leaders in the towns of Dhayra, Yarine and Marwahin find that residents were admitted to the hospital reporting suffocation and having trouble breathing.

Videos of the area show white plumes dispersed by artillery consistent with white phosphorus, Amnesty says, while others show chunks descending to the ground and igniting in a way that strongly suggests the substance is white phosphorus. Meanwhile, photojournalists have taken photos showing white phosphorus artillery shells lined up next to other Israeli weapons near the Lebanese border on October 18.

White phosphorus is often used to create a smokescreen in war. Using the substance in civilian areas is considered a war crime due to its extremely dangerous effects on the human body. White phosphorus ignites instantly when in contact with oxygen. It can burn through the human body, including through bone, causing severe, excruciating damage. It can also cause extreme harm when inhaled, with risks of suffocation, cardiovascular failure, coma, death, and other lifelong effects. The substance burns at temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some human rights organizations have found that Israeli forces have also used white phosphorus on parts of Gaza, which is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth. Human Rights Watch has said that Israel’s use of the substance in Gaza is a violation of international law.

Amnesty’s report found that Israel used the phosphorus shells indiscriminately, meaning that they did not take care to distinguish whether it was used against civilians or fighters. One official told Amnesty that a screen of heavy white smoke covered Dharya all night and morning on October 16 and 17, with people not even being able to see their hands.

The potentially illegal use of the substance on civilian areas “must be investigated as a war crime,” Amnesty wrote.

“It is beyond horrific that the Israeli army has indiscriminately used white phosphorous in violation of international humanitarian law. The unlawful use of white phosphorus in Lebanon in the town of Dhayra on 16 October has seriously endangered the lives of civilians, many of whom were hospitalized and displaced, and whose homes and cars caught fire,” said Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

In response to the report, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) introduced an amendment on Wednesday that would ban Israel from using U.S. military funding to deploy white phosphorus against civilians. It is being proposed as an addition to a supplemental aid bill proposed by Republicans to give Israel $14.3 billion in aid, on top of the billions of dollars the U.S. already gives Israel annually — while also cutting billions from tax enforcement against U.S. millionaires and billionaires.

“Deployment of white phosphorous near populated civilian areas is a war crime,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. “Two independent, well-respected international human rights organizations have formally concluded that Israel is deploying white phosphorous in civilian areas. The United States must adhere to our own laws and policies, which prohibit U.S. aid from assisting forces engaged in gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”


Posted in War | Comments Off on “Beyond Horrific”: Report Says Israel Illegally Used White Phosphorus in Lebanon

importante petizione in aiuto agli accademici palestinesi

Dear Colleagues

we have read through the open letter to the world of the Academics and University personnel of Gaza published by Al Jazeera on May 29

and we felt it was appropriate and due to help spreading their call and ask of you all to sign a response letter that is posted below.

Signing will signify your intention to brainstorm on how each and all can promote also in practical terms, funding and collaborations in education and organizative tasks, the recreation of a learning environment and the protection of scholars and students in Gaza.

best regards

The letter is open to signatures of individuals and academic networks.


Car* collegh*

abbiamo letto la lettera aperta al mondo degli accademici e del personale universitario di Gaza pubblicata da Al Jazeera il 29 maggio

e abbiamo ritenuto opportuno e dovuto contribuire a diffondere il loro appello e chiedere a tutti voi di firmare una lettera di risposta che è pubblicata qui di seguito.

La firma significherà la vostra intenzione di fare un brainstorming su come ciascun* e tutt* possano promuovere, anche in termini pratici, e con finanziamenti e collaborazioni volontarie  nei compiti educativi e organizzativi, la creazione nuovamente di un ambiente di apprendimento e la protezione di studiosi e studenti a Gaza.La lettera può essere firmata da associazioni e reti, e da individui nell’Academia

Posted in Petitions | Comments Off on importante petizione in aiuto agli accademici palestinesi

about silencing of voices from Gaza-Abu Sitta and Gaza Doctors italiano / english

4 Maggio 2024

Oggi al dr Ghassan Abu Sitta, Rettore della Università di Glasgow, chirurgo plastico e di emergenza è stato negato l’ingresso in Francia dove avrebbe dovuto essere udito al Senato. 

La richiesta di negargli l’entrata in tutti i paesi Schengen si origina dal diniego ad entrare in Germania per una conferenza sulla Palestina il 12 aprile. 

Il Dr. Ghassan è testimone di tutte le aggressioni su Gaza dal 2008 e per il primo mese e mezzo dell’ attuale attacco ha lavorato prima nell’ospedale Al Shifa e poi, quando questo è stato evacuato dall’esercito israeliano, nell’ospedale Battista Al Alhi. Questa lunga esperienza ed il fatto che è testimone di come questa guerra sia stata portata avanti sul campo, fa si che comprenda cosa significa la distruzione quasi totale degli ospedali e dei servizi di salute, delle università e delle scuole di ogni ordine, dei siti archeologi, delle chiese e delle moschee.

Il Dr. Ghassan ci dice che non è un caso che di Gaza si faccia terra bruciata in cui le persone non possono accedere alle cure né al cibo, ma il risultato di un disegno di distruzione totale di un popolo. La sua analisi evidentemente lo ha reso “non gradito” in Germania, che con un arbitrio intollerabile ne ha bloccato l’entrata anche negli altri paesi Europei.

I testimoni dei crimini devono essere silenziati e noi Europei non dobbiamo essere informati da chi meglio può farlo.

Questa complicità con i piani di sterminio di Israele porta alla repressione delle voci solidali; in questo modo questi governi sono collusi nell’ accettazione del piano di soppressione fisica e mentale con cui viene silenziato anche il personale sanitario di Gaza.

Abbiamo appreso che il chirurgo Dr. Adnan Al Bursh, direttore della chirurgia dell’ Ospedale Al Shifa, da cui era stato costretto ad evacuare all’ospedale Al Awda e rapito a dicembre dall’esercito israeliano assieme ad altri colleghi e imprigionato nel campo di prigionia di Ofer, è morto li, il 19 Aprile. 

La notizia è trapelata solo ieri dato che il cadavere del Dr. Adnan è stato “sequestrato”.

Naturalmente, avendo visto le condizioni fisiche dei prigionieri rilasciati – dimagriti, segnati con profonde cicatrici – non è malignità pensare che la sua situazione non fosse dissimile.

La pratica di sequestro del corpo è piuttosto diffusa nei confronti dei prigionieri palestinesi, alla cui famiglia si nega il diritto a una degna sepoltura e a poter piangere i propri morti.

Chiediamo conto dell’esclusione del Dr Abu Sitta dall’EU e chiediamo che i resti del Dr Adnan Al Bursh vengano restituiti ai propri cari.

Fare tacere il portavoce, o uccidere un valente medico testimone degli assalti agli Ospedali di Gaza non sopprimerà il loro messaggio. Israele sta compiendo un genocidio sistematico a Gaza colpendo in modo specifico e con ferocia medici e giornalisti, persone che hanno voce e onore professionale. 

Il ministero della sanità palestinese ha aggiornato a 496 il numero degli operatori sanitari uccisi dal 7 ottobre. Altri 1.500 sono rimasti feriti e almeno 309 sono stati arrestati.

Tra questi circa 100 medici risultano ancora “desaparecidos” dopo essere stati prelevati negli ospedali di Gaza.

Ne chiediamo la liberazione.

Non abbiamo notizie dal 17 di dicembre del direttore dell’ ospedale Al Awda, il Dottor Ahmed Muhanna che era divenuto portavoce internazionale riguardo agli attacchi dell’ esercito israeliano sul sistema sanitario a Gaza.

Non abbiamo notizie dal 23 di novembre sul dottore Mohammad Abu Salmiya, direttore dell’ospedale Al Shifa grazie al cui contributo erano state apportate grandi migliorie alla struttura. Alcune testimonianze di prigionieri rilasciati riportano come il Dottore sia stato torturato gravemente: le braccia spezzate, veniva trascinato con una catena e obbligato a mangiare in una ciotola a terra.

Compagni di prigionia hanno riportato di ferite e torture inflitte da parte dell’ esercito israeliano anche nei confronti  dell’ infermiere Iyad Shaqura e del Dr. Naheed Abu Taaimah, arrestati all’ ospedale Nasser.

Di recente, come riferito dal quotidiano Haaretz, un medico israeliano che lavora nell’ospedale da campo allestito nel centro di detenzione di Sde Teiman ha descritto le condizioni catastrofiche in cui versano i detenuti, incatenati con tutti e quattro gli arti 24 ore al giorno, una condizione che causa gravi ferite alle mani e alle gambe e che ha portato anche ad amputazioni.

Molti membri del personale sanitario dopo essere stati rilasciati hanno parlato di condizioni di prigionia brutali e di pratiche di tortura. Ecco alcuni nomi di questi testimoni: il pediatra  Dr. Said Abdulrahman Maarouf, il Dr. Haytham Ahmed, il Dr. Iyad Zaqout, il Dr. Ahmed Abu Sabha, il chirurgo Dr. Mohammed Al Ron.

Nel frattempo le fosse comuni sia all’ ospedale Al Shifa che all’ ospedale Al Nasser hanno svelato i corpi del personale sanitario assassinato durante la occupazione dei due ospedali che ne ha preceduto la totale distruzione. 

Tra i 400 cadaveri ritrovati all’ ospedale Al Shifa vi sono i corpi della dottoressa Yusra Maqadmeh e di suo figlio Ahmed, chirurgo plastico, di Baha’a Al- Kilani, capo del dipartimento di manutenzione, del dottor Mohammed Zaher Al-Nono, direttore del dipartimento farmaceutico.

Il personale sanitario a Gaza sta lottando con i pochi mezzi che hanno a disposizione, in condizioni di lavoro durissime per fare in modo che il diritto alla vita e alla sopravvivenza non siano del tutto soppressi in Palestina.

Siamo al loro fianco in questa lotta.

Cessi il genocidio, cessi il colonialismo

May 4, 2024

Today Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta, Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, plastic and emergency surgeon was denied entry to France where he was due to be heard in the Senate.

The request to deny him entry to all Schengen countries stems from the refusal to enter Germany for a conference on Palestine on April 12, deemed preemptively dangerous for public order.

Dr. Ghassan has witnessed all the attacks on Gaza since 2008 and for the first month and a half of the current attack he worked first in the Al Shifa hospital and then, when it was evacuated by the Israeli army, in the Baptist hospital Al Alhi. This long experience and the fact that he is a witness to how this war was carried out in the field means that he understands what is motivagting the almost total destruction of hospitals and health services, of universities and schools of all levels, of archaeological sites, churches and mosques.

Dr. Ghassan tells us that it is not a coincidence that Gaza became a scorched earth where people cannot access care or food, but the result of a plan for the total destruction of a people. His analysis evidently made him “unwelcome” in Germany, which with intolerable arbitrariness issued a ban for all Schengen European countries.

Witnesses to crimes are being silenced and we Europeans must not be informed by those who can do it best. This amounts to complicity with Israel’s extermination plan and collusion in the physical and mental suppression with which the healthcare personnel of Gaza is also silenced.

We learned that the surgeon Dr. Adnan Al Bursh, director of surgery at Al Shifa Hospital, forcedly evacuate to Al Awda Hospital and among the health personnel kidnapped there in December by the Israeli army, and imprisoned in the prison camp of Ofer, died there on April 19th. The news only leaked yesterday as Dr. Adnan’s body was “seized”.

Having seen the physical condition of the released prisoners – emaciated, marked with deep scars – it is not malicious to think that his situation was not dissimilar. The practice of body seizure is quite widespread among Palestinian prisoners, whose family is denied the right to a dignified burial and to be able to mourn their dead.

We call that the European Institutions account for Dr Abu Sitta’s exclusion from the EU and demand that Dr Adnan Al Bursh’s remains be returned to his loved ones.

Silencing the spokesperson, or killing a talented doctor who witnessed the attacks on Gaza hospitals will not suppress their message. Israel is carrying out a systematic genocide in Gaza by specifically and ferociously targeting doctors and journalists, people who have a voice and professional honor.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has updated the number of health workers killed since October 7 to 496. Another 1,500 were injured and at least 309 were arrested.

Among these, around 100 doctors are still “disappeared” after being taken from hospitals in Gaza.

We ask for their release.

We have had no news since December 17th about the director of Al Awda hospital, Doctor Ahmed Muhanna a spokesperson about the Israeli army’s attacks on the healthcare system in Gaza.

We have had no news since November 23rd about doctor Mohammad Abu Salmiya, director of Al Shifa hospital, abducted at the time of the first severe attack to this hospital. Some testimonies from released prisoners report how he has been severely tortured: his arms were broken, he was dragged with a chain and forced to eat in a bowl on the ground.

Fellow prisoners also reported wounds and torture inflicted by the Israeli army on nurse Iyad Shaqura and Dr. Naheed Abu Taaimah, arrested at Nasser hospital.

Recently, as reported by the newspaper Haaretz, an Israeli doctor working in the field hospital set up in the Sde Teiman detention center for Gaza detainees, described the catastrophic conditions in which these detainees find themselves, with all four limbs chained 24 hours a day, a condition that causes serious injuries to the hands and legs and has also led to amputations.

Many health workers spoke of brutal prison conditions and torture practices after their release. Here are some names of these witnesses: pediatrician Dr. Said Abdulrahman Maarouf, Dr. Haytham Ahmed, Dr. Iyad Zaqout, Dr. Ahmed Abu Sabha, surgeon Dr. Mohammed Al Ron.

Meanwhile, the mass graves at both the Al Shifa hospital and the Al Nasser hospital have revealed the bodies of healthcare personnel murdered during the occupation of the two hospitals which preceded their destruction.

Among the 400 corpses found at Al Shifa hospital are the bodies of Dr. Yusra Maqadmeh and her son Ahmed, a plastic surgeon, Baha’a Al-Kilani, head of the maintenance department, Dr. Mohammed Zaher Al-Nono, director of the pharmaceutical department.

The healthcare personnel in Gaza are struggling with the few means they have at their disposal, in very harsh working conditions to ensure that the right to life and survival are not completely suppressed in Palestine.

We stand with them in this fight.

Stop the genocide, stop colonialism.

Posted in War | Comments Off on about silencing of voices from Gaza-Abu Sitta and Gaza Doctors italiano / english



Guarda il nostro video in onore dei giornalisti a Gaza

Dieci giorni fa sono salito sul palco dell’evento Ridenhour Prizes a Washington DC, una cerimonia annuale che onora i risultati di informatori, rivelatori di verità e visionari. Siamo stati invitati – come giornalisti, registi e precedenti vincitori del Ridenhour Film Prize per Budrus nel 2011 – a offrire un omaggio ai giornalisti palestinesi che sono stati uccisi dall’esercito israeliano a Gaza.

Per favore guardate il breve video che abbiamo prodotto e presentato all’evento così che anche voi possiate prendervi un momento per onorare il lavoro e il sacrificio dei giornalisti e degli operatori dei media di Gaza. Se ti senti commosso, spero che lo condividerai sui tuoi canali social (clicca sui collegamenti per Instagram , Facebook o Twitter ).

Sono tra i giornalisti sopravvissuti al genocidio di Gaza. La maggior parte della mia famiglia, compresi i miei genitori e i miei fratelli, sono ancora lì e temo ogni giorno per la loro incolumità. Il lavoro dei giornalisti che continuano coraggiosamente a coprire ciò che sta accadendo a Gaza è la mia unica speranza che le persone in tutto il mondo imparino la verità e che, apprendendo la verità, agiscano per fermare il massacro del mio popolo.

Con determinazione,

Fadi Abu Shammalah

Associato di sensibilizzazione, Gaza

Posted in War | Comments Off on Guarda il nostro video in onore dei giornalisti a Gaza