News Release

U.S. Doctors Back From Gaza: Israeli Marksmen Shooting Children in the Head

[Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reports “Gaza: Less than 30 hours after its first massacre, Israel bombs more displaced civilians in Rafah.” Doctors Without Borders reports: “Israel must end its campaign of death and destruction in Gaza.” See Electronic Intifada livestream from Wednesday, which includes a comprehensive news summary.]

Perlmutter is president of the World Surgical Foundation and vice president of the International College of Surgeons. Last month, he returned to the U.S. from Gaza and co-wrote the piece “As Surgeons, We Have Never Seen Cruelty Like Israel’s Genocide in Gaza” with Dr. Feroze Sidhwa. They appeared on “Democracy Now.”

They wrote: “On March 25 the two of us, an orthopedic surgeon and a trauma surgeon, traveled to the Gaza Strip to work at Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis. We were immediately overwhelmed by the overflowing sewage and the distinct smell of gunpowder in the air. We made the short journey from the Rafah crossing to Khan Younis, where Gaza European Hospital stands as one of the last remaining semi-functional hospitals for the 2.5 million human beings — half of them children — in the Gaza Strip. As humanitarian surgeons we thought we had seen all manner of cruelty in the world, but neither one of us has ever experienced anything like what we found when we arrived in Gaza.

“We exited the van into a sea of children, all shorter and thinner than they ought to have been. Even over their screams of joy at meeting new foreigners, the snowmobile-like hum of Israeli drones could be heard overhead. It quickly became background noise, an omnipresent reminder that violence and death can rain down on anyone at any time in this besieged and ransacked territory. Our limited sleep was constantly interrupted by explosions that shook the hospital’s walls and popped our ears, even well after the United Nations Security Council declared a cease-fire must be implemented. When warplanes screamed overhead, everyone braced for a particularly loud and powerful explosion. The timing of these attacks always coincided with ‘iftar,’ when families in this overwhelmingly Muslim country broke the daily fast of Ramadan and were most vulnerable.

“We walked through the wards and immediately found evidence of horrifying violence deliberately directed at civilians and even children. A three-year-old boy shot in the head, a 12-year-old girl shot through the chest, an ICU nurse shot through the abdomen, all by some of the best-trained marksmen in the world. …”

Dr. Perlmutter, who is Jewish, just wrote the (not yet published) piece “Israel Does Not Define Judaism” in which he writes: “My internal conflict between my decades-long belief that Israel had been victimized by Islamic terrorists and the cruel and horrible carnage that I witnessed in Gaza has stimulated many questions that now demand answers. …

“The ethical death certificate for both Israel and America now reads ‘Gaza.’ As a nation we are shamefully lagging behind the rest of the world in recognizing that it is not a contradiction to love Jews perfectly, while at the same time perfectly detesting the brutal, repressive, and racist apartheid government of Israel.”

Dr. Sidhwa and Dr. Perlmutter worked with the Palestinian American Medical Association in collaboration with the World Health Organization in Gaza. Collectively, they have previously volunteered medical assistance in the West Bank, Haiti and Ukraine, and after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Boston Marathon bombing.