Gaza’s Healthcare Crisis: Israel’s Targeting of Hospitals Sparks Humanitarian Alarm

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Since the start of Israel’s military operation in Gaza on October 7th, the conflict has resulted in the tragic loss of over 25,000 Palestinian lives, with an alarming 70 percent of the casualties being women and children. A particularly distressing dimension of this ongoing conflict has been Israel’s deliberate targeting of hospitals and medical infrastructure, further worsening the already dire state of Gaza’s healthcare system, which has endured a 16-year blockade.

On a significant note, Israel encircled and bombarded Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, over several days before launching a raid on the facility. Israel claimed the presence of a Hamas command center under Al-Shifa, a claim that Hamas vehemently denied. In the week leading up to this incident, Al-Shifa was already in a “catastrophic” state. Heavy fighting was ongoing in the vicinity, medical supplies were in short supply, utilities had been disrupted, and medical staff were compelled to work under candlelight, conducting surgeries without anesthesia.

What’s particularly distressing is that Israel gave just a one-hour notice for over 2,300 patients, medical personnel, and Palestinians who had sought shelter at Al-Shifa to evacuate before the assault. Given the circumstances, it was practically impossible to ensure the safety of all these vulnerable individuals within such a short timeframe.

As a result of Israeli attacks and power shortages, 26 out of 35 hospitals in Gaza are now non-functional. Only 9 hospitals and 18 clinics remain operational, but their capacity is severely limited. The hospitals in northern Gaza, where the conflict has been most intense, have ceased to function entirely.

It is worth noting that Israel has carried out 164 documented attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza since October 7th. Hospitals, clinics, and ambulances have all been damaged or destroyed due to shelling and airstrikes. Importantly, targeting medical facilities constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law, regardless of Israel’s allegations that Hamas is using them. Hospitals are considered protected civilian structures under international law.

The collapse of Gaza’s healthcare system is a result of years of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and the recent deliberate targeting by Israel’s military. The international community has been criticized for failing to exert pressure on Israel to comply with its legal obligations or suspend relations. Ultimately, an end to this devastating assault on civilians will only come when those responsible face genuine accountability for their serious breaches of international law. The denial of Palestinians’ right to medical care is a distressing consequence of the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

DAMON K JONES
DAMON K JONEShttps://damonkjones.com
A multifaceted personality, Damon is an activist, author, and the force behind Black Westchester Magazine, a notable Black-owned newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. With a wide array of expertise, he wears many hats, including that of a Spiritual Life Coach, Couples and Family Therapy Coach, and Holistic Health Practitioner. He is well-versed in Mental Health First Aid, Dietary and Nutritional Counseling, and has significant insights as a Vegan and Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Not just limited to the world of holistic health and activism, Damon brings with him a rich 32-year experience as a Law Enforcement Practitioner and stands as the New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America.

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