Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review: Norwegian doctors’ “Eyes in Gaza”

Raymond Deane, The Electronic Intifada, 27 September 2010


Eyes in Gaza is a detailed and harrowing account by the Norwegian doctors Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse of their experiences in al-Shifa Hospital during Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009. For a time, they were not just the only western doctors in Gaza, but the only western witnesses to what they repeatedly call Israel’s “massacre” of some 1,400 Palestinian men, women and children. Hence the book’s title, bearing witness to their status as witnesses.

At noon on New Year’s Eve 2008, four days after the start of Israel’s onslaught, Gilbert and Fosse entered Gaza from Egypt. On the morning of 10 January 2010, with Israel’s campaign still having a week to run, they returned to Egypt and were replaced by another Norwegian medical team. During the intervening period they assisted their Palestinian colleagues — whose “historic heroism” (112) they praise unstintingly — in performing an average of twenty operations daily on the civilian victims of Israel’s orgy of shooting and bombing. In the absence of western media they also acted as reporters (“white voices” — 121-122), giving ten to fifteen interviews daily.

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