Reference : V-P-IL-E-02997
Date : 19/04/2017
Caption : Gaza.This 80 years retired physician was Health minister between 1996 and 2002. He crossed paths with the ICRC on many occasions, including various key historical events.
Photographer : ALWAHEIDI, Nidal
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : In 1967, he was working as a doctor at the Al-Shifa’ Hospital in Gaza when he met for the first time with ICRC representatives soon after the occupation of Gaza. The ICRC representatives were carrying out daily visits to the hospital at the time, to check the availability of medical supplies and to help provide the hospital with its needs.
He remembers a phone call that he received during the 1967 war, informing him about 40 injured Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, who were in need of proper medical care. He contacted the ICRC representatives to ask if they could arrange the transfer of the wounded soldiers to the hospital and could afford them protection. The ICRC agreed and was able to coordinate and provide 40 ambulances to transport the injured, in cooperation with various local institutions. That day, 40 lives were saved thanks to the ICRC’s involvement and the convoy it headed up and set in motion.
In 1971, there was a severe shortage of physicians in Gaza. This was partly because some of them had left the country but also because of the increased needs for medical care, with hospitals in Gaza having to cover a larger catchment area following the occupation in 1967.
Following contacts with the ICRC and the Egyptian parties, two doctors managed to secure the passage of several teams of medical graduates from Egypt into Gaza through the ICRC. These doctors were known at the time as the “ICRC doctors”. The convoys of medical personnel arrived in Gaza every six months with the support of the ICRC and were maintained for a total of four years
In the period between 1996 and 2001, waves of violence as well as the eruption of an intifiada resulted in a high number of injuries and an increased demand for health care. Contacts were made with the ICRC and with the Egyptian hospitals at the time for chartered convoys to ferry injured patients for medical treatment in Egypt. The ICRC was responsible for the coordination. Between 2000 and 2008, while he was health minister, the ICRC also coordinated the transport of medicines and medical supplies from the Ministry of Health warehouses in the city of Gaza to its warehouses in Khan Younis and Rafah and to the various hospitals under the Ministry of Health. At the time there were checkpoints in the Gaza Strip separating the northern region from the southern region.
He remembers: “The assistance provided by the ICRC made a difference on all these crucial occasions; I experienced this situation where we saved 40 injured persons. Without the ICRC’s assistance, we couldn’t have saved them.”
Nowadays he spends much of his time reading, especially medical books. He has also kept up with the way in which the work of the ICRC has expanded in the past fifty years, to include many other domains beyond that of the prisoners and their visits.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5500x3667
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour