Contact: Natalie Shure, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 6, 2023 –Treatment Action Group (TAG) urgently calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. We grieve Israeli and Palestinian lives lost before, on, and since October 7, and unequivocally condemn the Hamas attacks that killed more than 1,400 Israelis, including some 30 children. We denounce anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim actions worldwide that have been carried out in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. All of these tragedies are an affront to humanity.
Now, we watch with horror as unprecedented Israeli bombing in Gaza has so far killed over 10,000 Palestinians, including over 4,000 children, and continues to displace communities, and chokes off vital resources and medical infrastructure. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) has officially demanded a ceasefire, warning that “the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide.” We are distraught that these actions are being carried out with the political and financial support of the United States and other rich and powerful governments, and urge the global health community and civil society to step up and follow the example set by Doctors without Borders (MSF), OHCHR, Unicef, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in demanding an immediate end to the carnage so antithetical to human health and thriving.
Evolving evidence paints a picture of utter desperation in Gaza: the United Nations (UN) estimates around 42% of Gaza’s housing units have been damaged or destroyed, and 1.4 million Gaza residents have been forced to flee their homes. Access to food and water, electricity, and telecommunications has become perilously scarce. The situation has also become a medical catastrophe: as MSF reports, medical need in Palestine has already far exceeded hospital capacity, and over 72 attacks on healthcare have been recorded. Gaza has experienced life-threatening interruptions in supply delivery, from essential medicines to fuel for hospitals. International agencies playing a neutral humanitarian role have experienced casualties, and struggle to sustain their work. Ongoing war exponentially exacerbates these vital emergencies, and any military escalation will cause further humanitarian devastation which will endanger physical and mental health for generations.
Throughout TAG’s decades-long fight to end HIV, TB, and HCV, we have witnessed how the global distribution of power and resources determines whose lives are prioritized, and whose are dismissed as expendable. War and violence pose a dire and potentially long-term threat to all of what the late Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer called the “5 S’s” necessary to deliver effective care: stuff, staff, space, systems, and support. History has repeatedly clarified the painful correlation between war and disease.
We insist on a world that upholds the universal right to health, and reject the shameful barrage against Palestinians, their communities, and basic needs. Ceasefire now.