Hospitals under siege; Israel mentions "falsehoods" [Updated]
Amid escalating violence in the Gaza Strip, the Palestine Red Crescent has reported alarming developments at Al-Quds Hospital, with Israeli tanks positioned just 20 meters away from the medical facility. The organization expressed grave concerns as direct shootings at the hospital have induced a state of terror among the displaced civilians seeking refuge there.
The Guardian reports that Robert Mardini, the director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), expressed profound shock and dismay at the visuals and accounts coming from al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. Mardini emphasized that the dire circumstances must come to an immediate halt and stressed the imperative for the safety of both patients and medical personnel.
Simultaneously, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) confirmed distressing accounts of individuals being targeted by gunfire as they attempted to evacuate the besieged Al-Shifa Hospital. "Our staff are witnessing people being shot at as they try to flee the Al-Shifa hospital," MSF stated, underscoring the perilous conditions for both patients and medical personnel.
Al Jazeera provided a window into the harrowing situation inside Al-Shifa, the largest medical complex in Gaza, through an interview with the hospital director Muhammad Abu Salmiya. His desperate plea painted a picture of a healthcare facility under siege, with the loss of life escalating by the minute. "Patients, victims, wounded, and even babies in the incubators are dying," lamented Abu Salmiya. The director described a chilling scene where a medical staff member was shot dead while trying to save infants, and the hospital's infrastructure targeted, leaving the compound without essential resources such as power, water, and medical supplies.
In stark contrast to the dire reports on the ground, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, delivered a rebuke during yesterday's special meeting of the Security Council, denouncing what he called "falsehoods" and accusing the United Nations of a moral failure. Erdan raised concerns over the lack of mention of Hamas' purported use of hospitals and ambulances for terrorist activities and criticized the absence of Israeli representation in the briefings, deeming it indicative of bias.
The ongoing Israeli-Hamas war has left Al Shifa Hospital in a vulnerable state, grappling with damage from airstrikes and a severe influx of casualties. The blockade and clashes have compounded the chronic shortages of medical supplies and equipment, pushing the healthcare system to the brink. As international organizations and witnesses on the ground convey the gravity of the situation, the global community faces calls for urgent intervention and support for the civilians caught in the crossfire of the conflict.
*Photo: Al Jazeera