February 22, 2024

Israel – Hamas war: medics are dying in Gaza

In the latest news from the war in Palestine, a dozen Israeli commandos entered the Ibn Sina hospital in the West Bank town of Jenin dressed as doctors and nurses and shot dead a man whom they claimed was a Hamas terrorist, along with his two companions.

The Israelis claimed that their victims had been using the hospital as a base for planning an infiltration attack like the October 7 massacre.

A hospital spokesman said that the assassination was unprecedented. “There was never an assassination inside a hospital. There were arrests and assaults but not an assassination.”

In both the West Bank and Gaza, since war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, 138 Palestinian and nine Israeli healthcare staff have been killed, according to the BMJ. It also reported that 212 Palestinian healthcare staff had been arrested. All figures are estimates.

Other human rights organisations have estimated that more than 300 health workers have been killed, as well as about 170 aid workers in Gaza. This is the highest of any conflict so far in this century.

Human rights lawyer Len Rubenstein, of John Hopkins University, told The BMJ: “Gaza is about the most intense situation of attacks on healthcare we’ve seen. Even compared with wars like Ukraine, where you have a thousand attacks on health facilities and health workers, and Syria, where there were more than 600 attacks on hospitals.

“And that’s because in Gaza there are airstrikes on or in the vicinity of hospitals, often followed with ground assaults, detention of health workers, and interference with medical care for severely wounded and ill patients. And these attacks are not one-off attacks. These take place over time; there’s sometimes resistance. The lead up to a ground assault is extremely violent. It’s shooting into hospitals with patients killed inside as well as medical staff.”

According to the World Health Organization, “Seven out of 24 hospitals remain open in northern Gaza. These are only partially functioning, without enough specialized medical staff to manage the volume and range of injuries, nor sufficient medicines and medical supplies, fuel, clean water, or food for patients or staff… In southern Gaza, which used to have 12 hospitals, only 7 remain partially functional. A further two, Al-Kheir Hospital and Nasser Medical Complex, are only minimally functional and now inaccessible.”

WHO also believes that hospital staff are digging graves inside hospital compounds. “This horrifying situation should never take place in any hospital,” said WHO. Ironically, Israeli are digging up some of the graves and removing the corpses to check whether any of them were hostages.