April 11, 2012
During the Israeli “Operation Cast Lead” in Dec. 2008 – Jan. 2009, Dr. Gilbert was one of only two outside doctors in Gaza. Last week the International Criminal Court, to the protests of Amnesty International and other groups, stated it would not issue prosecutions for the Israeli Operation. Recently Gilbert, co-author of “Eyes in Gaza,” returned to Gaza and is now on a 10-day speaking tour in the U.S.
Gilbert said today: “The Israeli Operation Cast Lead killed 1.400 people in Gaza, struck 58 mosques and 280 schools. I’m sad to say from my visit to Gaza earlier this year, the situation is now more dire than ever. The Israeli siege effectively prohibits the rebuilding of Gaza — the import of concrete, of window panes, the availability of travel for medical care for the population. I’ve worked in other desperate situations in other places and Gaza is unique in a number of respects. It’s a captive population — usually if civilians are being attacked, there’s a safe place they can take refuge and then come back to their homes when the fighting has stopped. That doesn’t exist for the people in Gaza since they are effectively imprisoned by the Israeli siege. It’s an incredibly young population and a very poor population with nearly 80 percent unemployment, largely because of the Israeli siege, which is an illegal form of collective punishment. Anemia and protein deficiency are widespread.