Posted by: Lister | July 8, 2009

Sonia Robbins

Sonia Robbins is consultant reconstructive surgeon from Britain. She has been to Gaza with the Free-Gaza movement, and also via the Erez crossing. Getting into Gaza was difficult since November, before the war actually broke out.

The BBC (Jan 2009):

There were 50 Egyptian doctors who were trying to cross on Tuesday along with a British consultant reconstructive surgeon, Sonia Robbins.

“I left Gaza in December and I have not been able to get back in since the war started,” she said.

“I usually cross at Erez on the Israeli side but since November they have not been letting humanitarian workers in.”

Dr Robbins admits there may be limited help that she can provide, with supplies running low in hospitals in Gaza, but that does not blunt her urgent desire to cross.

“I am not frustrated that I am stuck here, I am very angry. The Egyptians haven’t told me anything. Nobody has spoken to me, taken my papers, they have just told me to wait. Well I am sorry we shouldn’t be waiting, people are dying.”

Robbins is also part of a humanitarian mission organised by the French government. That humanitarian mission has been denied access to Gaza. The Guardian (yesterday):

The team, including three British medics, was turned back by Israeli border guards on Sunday and Monday. They say their mission is purely humanitarian, aimed to helping those in medical need, and some of whom were left injured and in need of surgery after Israel’s attack on Gaza earlier this year.

One of the Britons refused entry to Gaza, Sonia Robbins, who is a reconstructive plastic surgeon, said: “I don’t know why we are being refused permission to enter.

“The consequences are that patients will not be operated on, children will have to wait until next time for surgery, and that won’t happen until six months time.

“I think it is unacceptable to refuse a humanitarian mission.”

The team had tried to enter through the Erez crossing. Robbins said she had been allowed to work in Gaza before. She said the team of nine medics were concentrating on surgery to the upper limbs, and that their papers to gain entry into Gaza were all in order. She added the border guards had been courteous as they refused the medical team permission to enter Gaza, where as well as treating the injured, they would help teach Palestinian doctors.


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