On 11 January 2024, Professor Mads Gilbert delivered a public lecture, titled 'Gaza Now: A Massive, Man-made Medical Disaster Met with Palestinian Heroism,' at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) in Doha.
Professor Gilbert, a distinguished physician, consultant, and professor of emergency medicine, offered a compelling account of the disastrous impact of Israel's war on Gaza on the health sector and civilian infrastructure and highlighted the extraordinary resilience and heroism of the Palestinian health professionals in the face of this man-made disaster. The lecture was opened by Dr Khalil Osman, a senior researcher at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies and attracted a large and engaged audience.
Professor Gilbert's lecture is a chapter in his long-standing medical solidarity with the Gaza Strip and its people. His work at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City has given him the credence and authority to document the recurrent Israeli wars on the Gaza Strip. To this end, Professor Gilbert has authored two books— "Eyes in Gaza" which was written after the 2008-2009 war and "Night of Gaza" following the 2014 war—which focused on the Israeli occupation's impact on Gaza's health sector in the face of repeated Israeli aggression.
Professor Gilbert began his lecture with a discussion on the importance of worldwide solidarity with Gaza as a means of support to a people who continue to suffer from a violent, decades-long occupation backed by the West.
The lecture emphasised that the ongoing disaster in the Gaza Strip is both entirely man-made and avoidable. To this end, Professor Gilbert demonstrated the heroism of Palestinian health professionals, where Gaza's doctors and nurses continue to attend to their patients despite the repeated and illegal expulsions of wounded and injured civilians by the Israeli military. The situation in the Gaza Strip, as he put it, would be unbearable for even the most advanced healthcare systems in the world.
In his presentation, he said that individual stories are more powerful than numbers. This was followed by firsthand accounts of his experiences in the Gaza Strip during previous wars carried out by Israel against the territory. Drawing attention to the Israeli occupation's obstruction of medical supplies from entering Gaza, Professor Gilbert recounted the tragic story of Yamen, a 10-year-old child who lost his life from a preventable death caused by the Israeli occupation's baseless restrictions on life-saving medications and treatments.
As such, Professor Gilbert unequivocally condemned the Israeli occupation's actions in the Gaza Strip, including the restrictions on medical supplies, the imposition of sieges, the policy of starvation, and the repeated attacks on civilian targets and infrastructure.
Professor Gilbert ended the lecture with a reminder that the Gaza Strip continues to struggle for the right to life, lamenting what he characterised as Western complicity in the crimes committed against civilians.