Jordan’s king awards honorary medal to Ghassan Abu Sittah

Abu Sittah has been one of the most prominent Palestinian voices in the medical field [Getty]

Jordan’s King Abdullah II awarded a royal medal on Saturday to renowned British-Palestinian doctor Ghassan Abu Sittah, who had treated those wounded by Israel’s indiscriminate military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Sittah was recognised for his humanitarian medical efforts during the Israeli aggression on Gaza, which began on 7 October and has since killed over 35,900 people, most of whom were women and children.

The ‘King Abdullah II Award for Excellence’ was handed to Abu Sittah during an awards ceremony marking Jordan’s 78th Independence Day, during which the Jordanian king awarded medals to various national institutions and individuals in recognition of their significant contributions to the nation across different sectors.

Jordan has faced nationwide mass protests in the wake of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, which saw scores of Jordanians arrested and charges brought against some of them.

The kingdom has a peace treaty with Israel and is dependent on the US for aid and security. A large proportion of Jordanians are of Palestinian origin.

Abu Sittah has been one of the most prominent Palestinian voices in the medical field, speaking out about his experiences working in Gaza following the outbreak of Israel’s war on the Palestinian enclave.

He travelled to Gaza on 9 October, where he performed dozens of surgeries on gravely wounded civilians. He spent 43 days in the Strip, and upon his return gave several press interviews on the deteriorating conditions and the amputations he was forced to carry out without anaesthesia. 

In the first few months of the war, he became the unofficial English-language representative of Palestinian doctors and surgeons treating Palestinians wounded by Israeli attacks.

Rights groups have warned that Palestinian figures such as Abu Sittah have been repeatedly silenced for criticising the Israeli government’s conduct in the besieged enclave.

Abu Sittah was recently denied entry to France – where he was set to provide testimony on Gaza’s deteriorating health system – and Germany following a Schengen-wide ban imposed by the German government, which was later overturned.

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