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JAKARTA: Indonesian medics rallied in Jakarta on Friday to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and demand that the World Health Organization protect Palestinian health workers attending to civilians wounded by Israeli attacks.

At least 100 health workers from 10 Indonesian medical associations participated in the solidarity demonstration organized by the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee. Chanting “Free Palestine,” they carried Palestinian flags and banners reading “Stop Genocide.”

More than 18,600 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the latest escalation of Israeli violence which began in October. The strikes have also claimed the lives of more than 250 Palestinian health workers, as Israel has been continuously targeting facilities in the besieged enclave, including the Indonesia Hospital in northern Gaza, which was funded from donations raised by MER-C.

“Hospitals, ambulances and health workers must be protected according to the Geneva Convention, but in the eyes of Israel it doesn’t count. In the eyes of Israel, these are targets to be destroyed,” Sarbini Abdul Murad, chairman of MER-C’s executive committee, said as he addressed the protesters.

“This is why we are using this opportunity to show our solidarity and our concern.”

In a joint petition, Indonesian medics demanded that the WHO act to protect Palestinian medics and help release the Palestinian health workers who have been detained by the Israeli military, as they urged for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“The attacks by Zionist Israel on Gaza have not only destroyed health facilities but also resulted in a social disaster as many ordinary residents have become victims,” Gagah Daru Setiawan, a dentist and member of the Indonesian Dental Association, told Arab News.

“We condemn the barbarism of Zionist Israel that indiscriminately kills women and children, destroys hospitals and kills health workers.”

Another protester, Maryanto from the Indonesian National Nurses Association, hoped that the rally on Friday would be noticed by the WHO.

“We are trying to pump up the spirit of life for our fellow health worker friends in Palestine,” he told Arab News.

“Together with 10 medical associations, we as health workers are taking to the streets so that the World Health Organization is compelled to some real action, to help release the kidnapped health workers and to make the ceasefire happen.”

Indonesian medics are also urging physicians around the world to make similar demands and stand by their Palestinian counterparts.

“It is absolutely necessary to speak up and demand that the war ends,” said Mahesa Paranadipa, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Medical Association’s executive committee.

“The acts conducted by the Israeli military have destroyed human values … If we let this continue, crimes against humanity will happen more easily anywhere and anytime.”

Source: Arab News

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