NJ Medical Professionals in Rafah Denied Safe Passage by Israel – Update, Press Release Added from NJ Coalition

Israel’s invasion of the Rafah border is preventing American doctors from leaving and worsening the critical humanitarian crisis in Gaza. TAKE ACTION NOW!

Two physicians from New Jersey, who were on two week long medical mission in Gaza, were scheduled to travel back to Egypt on May 13, Monday. However, following Israel’s invasion into Rafah and the subsequent forced closure of the border, their safe passage back to the U.S. is being denied.

The conditions in Gaza are worsening swiftly, making the demand for medical aid extremely critical. The International Rescue Committee reports that Gaza is left without any fully operational hospitals, and only 11 out of 36 hospitals are functioning to some extent. The blockade of the Rafah border by Israel has intensified the already severe humanitarian emergency.

The environment is becoming perilously unstable and untenable for these American medical professionals to carry on with their aid work without endangering their lives. It is imperative to call upon the Biden administration and the elected representatives of New Jersey to secure the wellbeing and repatriation of the American healthcare providers in Gaza. They must also press Israel to halt its invasion in Rafah, reopen the Rafah border for essential humanitarian supplies, and cease the continuous genocide of the Palestinian people.


Coalition Calls on Reps to Bring Home NJ Medical Aid Workers Trapped in Rafah

(May 14, 2024 – New Brunswick, NJ) The New Jersey Palestinian Solidarity Coalition (NJPSC) is calling for members of Congress to demand Israeli Defense Forces immediately allow two New Jersey health care professionals, Dr. Adam Hamawy and Pharmacist Ghada Abukuwaik, to cross over into Egypt. They remain trapped in Rafah and are facing extreme conditions after having entered Gaza as part of an urgent medical and humanitarian aid mission. The Israeli siege on Rafah and the closure of the Rafah border have made it impossible for them to leave.

Both Hamawy and Abukuwaik are part of a team from the Palestinian American Medical Association (PAMA), that consists of twenty healthcare workers who entered Rafah on May 1, 2024 to provide emergency medical relief services at the European Hospital under the umbrella of the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Dr. Adam Hamawy is an Army Veteran and combat surgeon from South Brunswick, NJ and is a constituent of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ 12). Hamawy is most famously known for saving the life of Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in 2004 after the Blackhawk helicopter she was piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. Today, Duckworth said she was “in touch with Hamawy and working hard to secure his group’s immediate evacuation.”

Pharmacist Ghada Abukuwaik is from Paterson, NJ and is a constituent of Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ 9). Abukuwaik runs Curemed Pharmacy, a prominent community-based pharmacy that consistently offers treatment and medical support to those in need. Abukuwaik is a mother of two. Her daughter, Ayah, recently graduated from Rutgers University and her mother missed the ceremony. “This was my mom’s dream – to see me graduate,” lamented Ayah. 

“Time is of the essence in bringing these medical workers home as the situation in Rafah grows more dire by the hour,” said NJPSC spokesperson, Dr. Ateka Gunja. “We are explicitly calling on Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ); the entire NJ delegation in the House of Representatives; and Governor Phil Murphy (D-NJ) to prioritize the return of Dr. Adam Hamawy and Ghada Abukuwaik. Their selfless devotion to medical service and social justice is a testament to their professionalism, and they deserve the attention and support of our elected officials. Bring them home.”

NJPSC is a broad coalition of NJ-based professionals including doctors, lawyers, teachers, activists, and community members united for the liberation of Palestine.


Additional References: 

As Ben Taylor who is challenging Congress man Bill Pascrell who represents NJ’s largest Palestinian American constituency in NJ points out – he does not seem to be engaged with the efforts to rescue his own constituent. Pascrell is consistent vote for weapons for the Israeli genocidal mission.