American Doctors Stuck in War-Torn Gaza

Israeli forces took control of the Rafah Crossing on May 7, leading to the forced evacuation of thousands of people and the involvement of some American citizens in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Islamist organization Hamas in and around Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

In Khan Younis, a group of medics who were helping with the Palestinian American Medical Association are among those who are unsure of how they will depart Gaza.

On Monday, a nurse, Monica Johnston of Seattle, and eighteen of her colleagues were supposed to leave, but the pathway out was considered too risky due to the closed Rafah Crossing and the rising activity of the Israel Defense Forces in the region.

She said that because the hospital is running short on supplies, it is becoming more difficult for their crew to fulfill their responsibilities while they wait for replacements.

Since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on October 7—killing 1,200 and capturing 250—the Rafah Crossing into Egypt has served as the primary entry route for the Gaza Strip.

With the entry of Israeli tanks on May 7, the bridge was taken over by the IDF. In an attempt to increase their pressure on Hamas in the region, they have barred everyone entry.

The entry and exit procedures for the PAMA troops have become much more complex and risky due to the escalation of military operations.

Johnston’s hospital is experiencing a high level of tension among both the personnel and patients. Unlike her colleague Dr. Adam Hamawy, Johnston has no prior experience working in crisis zones. Hamawy saved the life of Senator Tammy Duckworth while serving as an army doctor in Iraq.

According to a post by Senator Duckworth on May 14 on X, she’s in direct contact with Dr. Hamawy and is working hard to secure his group’s immediate evacuation. Duckworth said that People in need, including aid workers and bystanders, must always be safeguarded. She declared that Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration has to get the Rafah border open, help with evacuations, and let in a lot more supplies.

Johnston and Hamawy are filled with affection and empathy for the Palestinians they have worked side-by-side with and the patients they have served.

Hamawy says he feels grateful to be in Gaza and to provide comfort and safety for the afflicted.