National Nurses United Statement on the Crisis in the Middle East

As nurses, our patients trust us to help and heal them when they sustain harm due to the conditions in their everyday lives. To honor that sacred trust, it is our duty to speak up for every human being’s right to a life free from violence and the traumas of war.

As patient advocates, we are horrified by the mass killing and brutal violence that is happening in Israel and Palestine. We condemn the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas which led to the deaths and kidnapping of more than a thousand Israeli civilians. We call for the immediate release of all civilians still being held hostage. We condemn the massive attacks from the Israeli military that have killed more than 11,000 civilians in Gaza, and have devastated the health care system. We grieve all the lives lost in these indefensible tragedies.

Nurses believe that our patients and their families have the right to health care and to the necessities required to sustain life and health. The siege imposed by the Israeli army has prevented civilians in Gaza from accessing necessities including food, water, electricity, fuel, and life-saving medical supplies, while also preventing the safe movement of civilians currently trapped in Gaza. The resulting humanitarian crisis endangers the health and wellbeing of millions of civilians. Further, the bombing and destruction of critical health care infrastructure in Gaza is a violation of international law, and puts the lives of patients, nurses, and other health care workers at risk.

Nurses are no strangers to caring for patients in traumatic situations. But we know that we cannot provide the care we are educated and called to provide for people who entrust their lives to us when we do not have even the most basic supplies and infrastructure, and when we don’t know whether our patients and we nurses ourselves are safe at work. We stand in solidarity with the nurses and health care workers in Palestine and in Israel as they work to provide care in a time of crisis, under conditions that do not support health and healing.

National Nurses United calls for an immediate ceasefire, delivery of humanitarian aid, release of all hostages, and an end to this violence. We urge all parties to protect human life and the health and wellbeing of civilians in both Israel and Palestine. To support the humanitarian efforts in Gaza, NNU has made a donation to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.

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