Renowned British-Palestinian plastic surgeon, Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, has provided testimony to a British war crimes investigation unit following his recent mission to Gaza. Dr. Abu Sitta, specializing in conflict medicine, detailed the distressing plight of Palestinian civilians during the Israeli aggression campaign against the besieged strip.
During his weeks-long stay in Gaza as part of a Doctors Without Borders medical team, Dr. Abu Sitta bore witness to the atrocities committed by Israeli Occupation Forces. Speaking to The Associated Press at the Institute for Palestine Studies in Beirut, he revealed that upon his return to the United Kingdom, the Metropolitan Police’s war crimes unit requested his evidence, a call issued for individuals with firsthand experience of “terrorism, war crimes, or crimes against humanity” in the Palestinian territories.
The surgeon’s testimony focused on Israeli attacks targeting hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout Gaza. Having worked at both al-Shifa and al-Ahli hospitals, Dr. Abu Sitta underscored the severity of the situation in comparison to other conflicts he had worked in.
Surgery without Anesthetics
One of the distressing aspects he highlighted was the depletion of essential medical supplies, including morphine and anesthetic medications, forcing medical professionals to perform painful procedures without adequate pain relief.
Dr. Abu Sitta emphasized the scarcity of anesthetic medications, leading to excruciating procedures for patients.
Additionally, Abu Sitta said he had treated several cases of severe burn wounds inflicted by phosphorus bombing.
Phosphorus shells, he explained, cause a “chemical burn that bursts into the deep structures of the body.”
Dr. Abu Sitta lamented the martyrdom of 160 doctors and nurses during the Israeli aggression campaign against Gaza, illustrating the profound impact the aggression has had on the health sector in Gaza.
Last week, Abu Sitta criticized a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital strike in Gaza, describing it as “unfounded”.
The HRW report, published on November 26, suggested that a misfired Gaza rocket was likely responsible for the bombing of Al-Ahli Hospital on October 17, resulting in numerous casualties.
He stated that the report lacked a genuine investigation, conclusive evidence, and reliability, as HRW did not contact the hospital director or the doctor who received Israeli evacuation orders.
The doctor made the remarks during a lecture titled “The destruction of Gaza’s health sector: confronting devastation and forced displacement,” in the Qatari capital Doha on Tuesday.
Abu Sitta emphasized that HRW did not interview witnesses of the incident and cautioned against relying on HRW as a trustworthy source “as it serves the enemy.”