Greenfield standout draws attention to Gaza hospitals

Staff Report

Published: 03-18-2024 1:53 PM

GREENFIELD — With less than one-third of Gaza’s hospitals still functioning, local activists convened outside Baystate Franklin Medical Center on Monday to draw attention to the dangerous conditions faced by health care workers and their patients.

The standout, held as news reports confirmed an Israeli attack on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, drew together at least 25 residents of Greenfield, Montague, Conway, Shelburne Falls and Amherst, as well as a Stoneleigh-Burnham School student. Four attendees were nurses, including two who work at Baystate Franklin.

Greenfield resident Emily Greene said the attendees are “heartbroken” over “what health care workers and patients must work under.” She referenced a lack of beds, with some patients being treated on the hospital floor and undergoing surgeries without anesthesia. The few remaining hospitals also struggle with limited amounts of food and water.

“After 35 years working as a nurse and now retired at 77, I never imagined that a health care worker would have to work under those conditions in Gaza,” she said in a statement.

In particular, Greene said the dangers faced by emergency responders were highlighted in late January, when two rescue workers with the Palestine Red Crescent Society were killed trying to reach 6-year-old Hind Rajab, who was the sole survivor after her family’s car came under fire. After hours of pleading for help, Hind also died.

“How many more people must be murdered before we realize that violence does not solve the problem?” Greene said in a statement. “I only hope what we are doing standing out on the Greenfield Common ... every Saturday will raise awareness of Gaza, and that President Biden will do the right thing and stop sending weapons and aid to Israel.”

The activist groups involved with the weekly standout on the common are Jewish Voice for Peace, the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, the Franklin County Peace Group and Western Mass CODEPINK. Standouts are held from 11 a.m. to noon.

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