Political complicity in Gaza war exposed

Devastation caused by airstrikes in Gaza.

Devastation caused by airstrikes in Gaza.

Published Feb 26, 2024


The secretary-general of international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders’ (MSF), Christopher Lockyear, used his recent address at the UN Security Council (UNSC) to highlight the failures to effectively address this conflict.

He also called on the UN body for an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza and for the unequivocal protection of medical facilities, staff, and patients.

“We have watched members of this Council deliberate and delay while civilians die. This death, destruction, and forced displacement are the result of military and political choices that blatantly disregard civilian lives. These choices could have been – and still can be – made very differently.”

About 30 000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza amid Israel’s constant bombing and attacks since October. MSF said about 1.7 million people – nearly 75% of the population – are estimated to be forcibly displaced and suffering infected wounds and disease as they live in unsafe, unhealthy, and deplorable conditions.

Providing health care is becoming virtually impossible in Gaza as not even medical facilities are respected and safe from military attacks, said the organisation.

“Our patients have catastrophic injuries, amputations, crushed limbs, and severe burns. They need sophisticated care. They need long and intensive rehabilitation. Medics cannot treat these injuries on a battlefield or in the ashes of destroyed hospitals.

“Our surgeons are running out of basic gauze to stop their patients from bleeding out. They use it once, squeeze out the blood, wash it, sterilise it, and reuse it for the next patient,” said Lockyear.

An MSF staff member’s wife and daughter-in-law were killed, and six other people were injured, when an Israeli tank fired on a clearly-marked MSF staff shelter in Al-Mawasi in Khan Younis on February 20, the same day the US vetoed a UNSC ceasefire resolution.

Israeli forces recently evacuated and raided Nasser Hospital, which is the largest medical facility in southern Gaza.

Since the war in Gaza began, MSF medical teams and patients have been forced to evacuate nine different healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip. In total, five MSF colleagues have been killed.

“The consequences of casting international humanitarian law to the wind will reverberate well beyond Gaza. It will be an enduring burden on our collective conscience.

“This is not just political inaction – it has become political complicity,” Lockyear told the UN Security Council.

Cape Times