DUBAI: Indonesian doctors on Friday called on medics across the world to stand up for health workers in Gaza in the wake of Israeli strikes on hospitals in the besieged Palestinian territory.
More than 1,000 participants, most of whom represented medical groups across Indonesia, joined a virtual forum “Time to Scream to the World: Stop Genocide” hosted by the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee.
MER-C is an Indonesian NGO that funds the Indonesia Hospital in northern Gaza, one of the few facilities still holding the line to save lives despite the daily bombardment that started on Oct. 7 in retaliation for an attack by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas.
Israeli airstrikes on civilians have since killed more than 11,470 people, and wounded tens of thousands more. Two-thirds of the dead are women and children.
Among the dead are doctors, paramedics and nurses, who for the past three weeks have been increasingly targeted — alongside their relatives — despite being protected by the Geneva Convention.
“We are praying for all the victims, and especially the 202 medics and paramedics killed while serving humanity. We salute the health workers at the Indonesia Hospital, at Al-Shifa Hospital and others, who are still there risking everything as Israel will not spare their lives,” MER-C chairman Dr. Sarbini Murad said while addressing the forum.
“We appeal to all health workers in Indonesia and across the world to not be silent as they watch the cruelties committed by Israel against medics and paramedics.”
In an open letter, the Indonesian associations of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and midwives said that 22 hospitals and 49 health centers in Gaza have ceased operations due to Israeli attacks, which are in violation of the first Geneva Convention of Aug. 12, 1949 and the additional protocols of 1977.
“(We) urge the UN, the international health community and organizations to take concrete and immediate steps to stop Israeli attacks on medical facilities and personnel in Gaza and restore as quickly as possible medical services that have been stopped,” the letter read.
“(We) request the (Indonesian) government to engage in firm diplomacy on the international stage to pressure Israel to cease its aggression in Gaza, Palestine.”
Indonesia has long been a staunch supporter of Palestinians, who were among the first to recognize the Indonesian independence from Dutch colonial rule in 1945.
Many Indonesians, as well as their government, see Palestinian statehood as mandated by their own constitution, which calls for the abolition of colonialism.