Statement: Escalating crisis in Gaza

United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) previously called for a ceasefire in the Gaza region—like many other labor and healthcare organizations horrified by the loss of life and large-scale destruction. As the violence continues to worsen, UNAC/UHCP extends our commitment to healing and humanity with the following announcement:

The United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP)—as a union of healthcare workers with an ethical and moral obligation to speak out against oppression and show solidarity with oppressed people worldwide—has donated $5,000 to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. The fund, an organization that provides healthcare in Palestine, received support from many individuals within UNAC/UHCP, and others may add to that support here:

UNAC/UHCP continues to support an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the release of all Israeli and Palestinian hostages—a call that has grown throughout our labor and healthcare communities.

We must dispel the notion that the events of October 7 warrant the current escalation of violence. Characterizing Palestinians and Palestine in a racist and dehumanizing manner erases more than 75 years of violent Israeli settler colonialism (United Nations report).

After October 7, in which 1,100 Israelis were killed and more than 240 people were abducted, Israel began a siege and bombing campaign against the 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza, cutting off food, water, medicine, fuel, electricity, and internet, creating a collective punishment humanitarian crisis. International law prohibits collective punishment (International Humanitarian Law).

This bombardment on Gaza has left 1.8 million people displaced, more than 30,000 dead (13,000 of them children), and 70,000 injured. Famine and mass death are imminent (Reuters news).

The effect on healthcare is untenable for the people living in Gaza. Two-thirds of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip are non-functional. The Gaza population is suffering more than 300,000 respiratory infections and 200,000 acute diarrhea cases, and women are giving birth without clean water or anesthetics (United Nations report). Healthcare workers are treating their patients night and day, often working without pay and facing Israel’s onslaught.

Israeli forces have killed more than 600 healthcare workers. Healthcare workers—including nurses, doctors, physical therapists, pharmacists, paramedics, and others—were even killed while treating patients (World Health Organization). This violence must stop for the sake of the people who are being killed and injured and the healthcare workers risking their lives to save them: An injury to one is an injury to all.