The People’s Health Movement condemns the Israeli military operations in Gaza

17 Nov 2012


The People’s Health Movement (PHM) strongly condemns the latest Israeli military operation in the besieged Gaza Strip. At the time of issuing the statement, a total of 25 people have been killed and more than 250 injured. Six of those killed are children.  PHM calls on civil society organizations and citizens to put pressure on their governments to condemn the aggression on the people of Gaza and to allocate aid assistance and disaster relief to the Strip's 1.6 million people.

Israeli military spokespersons immediately threatened to expand the initial air strikes to a full-scale military operation, codenamed Pillar of Defense. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak underlined that the operation would not be completed in “one fell swoop,” but that its objectives will be attained over time. Any Israeli talk of surgical strikes is nothing but hollow rhetoric. With a population density of around 4500 people per square km, the Gaza Strip is indeed one of the most densely populated areas in the world and within the first hours of bombardment four children, including the 11-month-old son of a journalist, were reported killed. Many others were injured. After less than 24 hours, with 192 essential drug items and more than 500 consumable items out of stock, the Ministry of Health was already reporting extreme shortages in medical supplies.
The current offensive is but the most recent expression of Israel's direct targeting of Gaza's population. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, nearly 2,300 Palestinians were killed and 7,700 injured by Israeli forces between June 2007 and June 2012.1 Over a quarter (27%) of all Palestinian fatalities were women and children. Since 2009, Israeli naval forces have prevented fishermen from accessing areas beyond three nautical miles from Gaza’s coast, where the main sardine shoals are located. This has severely undermined the livelihoods of 35,000 people. Farmland located within 500 meters from the Gaza perimeter fence has become inaccessible to Palestinians, while Israeli “warning shots” have made accessing areas up to 1500 meters hazardous. As a result, an estimated 75,000 metric tons of produce are lost each year. Today, 44% of Gaza's people are food insecure. About 80% are aid recipients. Over 90% of the water from the Gaza Aquifer, the Strip's only natural freshwater source, is unsafe for human consumption without treatment. Israeli import restrictions effectively blocked the upgrading of Gaza’s sewage infrastructure: nearly 90 million liters of untreated or partially treated sewage are discharged into the sea daily. Contaminated seawater poses a serious health hazard.
For these reasons, the PHM:

  • demands that the Israeli government immediately halt its offensive in order to avoid further civilian casualties and lifts the ongoing blockade of Gaza.
  • demands that governments around the world condemn the ongoing aggression of Palestinians by Israel and sever diplomatic, trade and military ties with Israel.
  • calls on all international donors to allocate aid money and medical supplies to the important emergency work in Gaza Strip, as soon as possible.

Our thoughts are with our partners and friends from PHM Palestine who are tirelessly easing the suffering of the Palestinian population. We stand in solidarity with the brave health workers and human rights activists who are serving their people. We likewise recognize and appreciate the mobilization and demonstrations by social and political forces within Israel demanding an immediate end to their government's military operation and the siege on Gaza.


Photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/