The World Health Organization seems to be seizing on the spotlight by renewing a call to allow for the unimpeded access into Gaza of medical supplies and technical know-how. From a WHO statement released moments ago:
Hundreds of items of equipment have been waiting to enter Gaza for up to a year, procured by WHO and other organizations, says Mr Tony Laurance, head of WHO’s office for Gaza and the West Bank. These items include CT scanners, x-rays, fluoroscopes, infusion pumps, medical sterilization gasses, laboratory equipment, UPS (uninterrupted power supply) batteries, and spare parts for support systems like elevators.
“It is impossible to maintain a safe and effective healthcare system under the conditions of siege that have been in place now since June 2007,” Mr Laurance says. “It is not enough to simply ensure supplies like drugs and consumables. Medical equipment and spare parts must be available and be properly maintained.”
Gaza’s second biggest hospital, the Gaza-European Hospital, operates without 2 out of its 3 elevators not functioning due to disrepair.
All hospitals have been waiting for over 6 months to get spare parts to repair their main sterilizers.
Spare parts needed for the cardiac catheterization laboratories in the Gaza-European Hospital have been waiting to enter for 6 months.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials and top American conservatives are denying that there even is a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza at all. From ThinkProgress.
ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN: “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. … The flotilla is an attempt at violent propaganda against Israel, and Israel will not allow the violation of its sovereignty at sea, in the air, or on land.”
MICHAEL OREN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: “Over one hundred trucks, every day, laden with food and medicine go into Gaza. There’s no shortage of food. There is no shortage of medicine.”
NEWT GINGRICH: “There was no humanitarian crisis; this was a deliberate political effort on the part of people who want to try to undermine the survival of Israel.”
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: “What exactly is the humanitarian crisis that the flotilla was actually addressing? There is none. No one is starving in Gaza.”
Who are you going to trust: Charles Krauthammer or the WHO?