May 20, 2024

Photo Credit: Palestinian American Medical Association

(LOS ANGELES, CA – 5/20/2024) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today welcomed the news that several of the California doctors who had previously been trapped in Gaza after the Israeli invasion of the city of Rafah have been safely evacuated.

SEE: Trapped US doctors are out of Gaza, White House says

Multiple California doctors volunteering on a two-week medical mission to Gaza were originally set to return to Egypt on May 13, but were denied a safe return after Israel’s invasion of Rafah forced the border crossing to close. After nearly a week, several doctors were able to leave Gaza and re-enter Egypt with the assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in the West Bank.

However, not all the doctors who were part of the medical mission evacuated. Two medical workers from Northern California remain trapped in Gaza. They were reportedly not made aware of the opportunity to evacuate until after the other doctors on the mission had already made their passage into Egypt.

SEE ALSO: U.S. doctor who refused to leave Gaza says he ‘cannot abandon my team’

Additionally, some of the doctors made the decision to stay in Gaza to continue providing urgent medical care to Palestinians injured by Israel’s violent military campaign.

CAIR-LA previously called on the Biden administration and California elected officials to ensure the safety and return of the medical workers and immediately urge Israel to stop the invasion of Rafah and end its ongoing genocide in Gaza. More than 3,000 community members sent letters to California officials and the U.S. Jerusalem Embassy echoing the call.

In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:

“We extend our gratitude to the community for their strong support in demanding that elected officials prioritize the safe passage of our brave doctors back from Gaza and for using its collective voice to amplify the urgency of the situation.

“The need for medical assistance in Gaza is dire and it is increasingly unsafe for doctors to continue providing care to those injured by Israel’s ongoing and indiscriminate bombings. We continue to call on the Biden administration, and all local, state, and federal elected officials, to ensure an immediate end to the violence so the remaining aid and healthcare workers in Gaza can continue their humanitarian work without risk to their own lives. We also demand that Israel allow for critical humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, implement a permanent ceasefire, and an end to the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.”

Since Oct. 7, nearly all of Gaza’s medical infrastructure has been destroyed. According to the International Rescue Committee, there are no fully functioning hospitals left in Gaza, and only 11 of 36 hospitals remain partially functional. Israel’s cutting off of food, water, electricity, medicine, and other critical humanitarian aid has further rapidly deteriorated the health of nearly 1.7 million forcibly displaced civilians in Gaza.

CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.  

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Madi Morse-Hameed, mmorse-hameed@cair.com