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US doctor in Gaza wants President Biden to know 'we're not safe': NPR

US doctor in Gaza wants President Biden to know 'we're not safe': NPR


Palestinians receive medical treatment at the European Hospital in Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on Friday. AFP via Getty Images .

switch captionAFP via Getty Images

Palestinians receive medical treatment at the European Hospital in Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on Friday.

AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Adam Hamawy, an American physician and former US Army combat surgeon currently in Gaza, says he has “never in my career witnessed a level of atrocities and targeting of my medical colleagues as I did it in Gaza.”

Hamawy told NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben that he and his colleagues were supposed to leave Gaza earlier this week, but were prevented from doing so. “We were told that our security corridor had not been cleared and that we were not supposed to leave the compound. If we did, it would be at our own risk and we would be legitimate targets” for the Israeli army.

Hamawy was part of a team of medical professionals from the Palestinian American Medical Association who traveled to the Gaza Strip on May 1 to assist one of the few functioning hospitals remaining in the area, the European Hospital near Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip. .

According to NBC, 17 of the 20 American doctors stranded in Gaza left on Friday after talks between American and Israeli authorities allowed some doctors to leave.

Hamawy decided to stay. In a statement shared with NPR, he said: “I want our president to know that we are not safe. When the call to evacuate came, I was asked to choose either to evacuate and leave my team behind, or to stay with them. I don't leave my team behind in good conscience.”

Hamawy did not tell NPR the nationalities or number of the team's remaining members.

Hamawy told Kurtzleben that the situation in Gaza is different from other conflicts he has been involved in because it mainly deals with civilians rather than combatants. “I see mostly children, a lot of women, a lot of elderly people who have nothing to do with this war. And I see very, very few people of fighting age.”

Hamawy also advocated for safer conditions for medical professionals to attend in Gaza. “Anyone who provides medical care should be allowed to do so safely,” he said. Instead, Hamawy said people are afraid of what might happen at the European Hospital. “Here we have doctors who have been systematically targeted. We have hospitals who have been systematically targeted.”

Hamawy said he told his family he was trying to get home. “I just have to do the right thing too. And we came in as a team, and it's not fair for me to leave just because I'm American.”

Since October, NPR has spoken with doctors who describe dire conditions in Gaza's hospitals, with limited medical supplies and fuel and many patients dying.

A number of hospital buildings in Gaza have been destroyed by Israeli attacks. The Israeli military says Hamas operates in some of these hospitals, but doctors say the army's actions are a violation of human rights laws.




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