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In early November 2023 there was extensive media coverage of the WHO Director – General’s call for cessation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza. The Lancet praised his comments for moral clarity, and a group of senior Israeli academics and physicians responded to this. Their letter can be accessed here.

Proportionality in war -  two eminent Israeli physicians comment

There has been much discussion about what is a proportionate response in war and an important contribution on this topic was made in the House of Lords by Lord Verdirame in October 2023.

This topic continues to be discussed. In a blog on 25th January two distinguished Israeli medical academics, Prof Shimon Glick and Prof Mark Clarfield have put forward their views how to approach it. Their blog can be accessed here.

There continue to be reflective medical articles about the early days of the war which have appeared in both general and medical media.

Dr Pesach Lichtenberg from Kiryat Shaul Hospital wrote in The Atlantic about how Jews and Arab doctors work together and communicate following October 7th and his article can be accessed here.

Prof Mark Clarfield reflected on the fate of older people, both on October 7th itself, and subsequently. These people suffer disproportionally during humanitarian crisis. His article can be accessed here.

Misinformation about the events of October 7th and about the role of Hamas in particular continues to appear. Dr Philip Robinson responded to a BMJ article and highlighted the importance of being clear that Hamas is indeed a designated terrorist organisation in the UK. His letter can be accessed here.

A Gazan physician, Dr Khamis Elessi, published a letter in the Lancet (28th October 2023): “Save the Gaza residents from imminent catastrophe” about the deteriorating situation in Gaza. There were several inaccuracies in this letter.

In a response to Dr Elessi “The conflict in Gaza: a view from Israel” (published on 1st November 2023), Shelley Sternberg and Edward Breuer say that they share his concerns, and that they pray for the protection of innocent lives on both sides of the border, but that these concerns must begin with recognising that a terrorist organisation currently governs Gaza. Sternberg and Breuer’s letter can be accessed here.

A reflective comment about the ethical issues that healthcare professionals are encountering during the current conflict was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on 8th November and can be accessed here.

One of the most disturbing features since 7th October 2023 has been the silence of many of the International Healthcare Organisations about violence to women and children. The Israeli medical community have united to call for condemnation of gender – based crimes, for safe return of victims, and for support of those who are victims of such trauma. The full statement can be accessed here.

The issue of gender – based violence (GBV) on 7th October was also taken up by the Lancet, saying that medical societies, journals, and governing bodies must take a clear moral stance by vocally condemning the GBV atrocities. Their article can be accessed here.

The Israeli Medical Association issued a formal statement to colleagues worldwide about the current war. This can be accessed here.

The situation is ongoing and on 13th October two letters on the topic were published by the Lancet.

Prof Mark Clarfield, who is a geriatrician, reflected on the report about a Holocaust survivor hostage.

1500 Israeli physicians signed a letter about the ongoing crisis about the Israeli hostages who are being held in Gaza

On 16th October Prof Mark Clarfield spoke to the Association in a webinar on “Update from Israel – One Doctor’s Perspective”. Watch the video recording here.

On 24th October Dr Ruth Waitzberg spoke to the Association in a webinar on “Challenges and responses of the Israeli healthcare system during the first four days of the attack from Hamas”. Watch the video recording here.