World Health Organization Reports Attacks on Medical Facilities in Gaza
The conflict between Israel and Hamas has taken a severe toll on medical facilities in the Gaza Strip, with the World Health Organization (WHO) recording a significant number of attacks that have resulted in numerous fatalities and injuries.
Alarming Number of Attacks on Medical Centers
Since October 7th, the WHO has documented a staggering 152 attacks against medical facilities within the Gaza Strip. These attacks have tragically led to the deaths of 534 individuals, as relayed in a press conference by WHO spokesperson in the occupied Palestinian territory, Richard Pepperkorn.
Casualties Among Medical Personnel and Infrastructure
The aftermath of these attacks on the healthcare system has been grave, with at least 686 people injured alongside the hundreds killed. Particularly hard hit have been the medical personnel, with the WHO confirming at least 16 dead and 38 injured among them. Additionally, it was reported that 42 medical facilities and 38 ambulances suffered damage.
Hospitals Cease Operations Amid Conflict
Given the devastation, the healthcare infrastructure in Gaza has been severely compromised. Pepperkorn pointed out that out of 36 hospitals in the enclave, 25 are currently non-operational, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.
Israeli Prime Minister’s Remarks
During an inspection of the Zilim Israel Defense Forces (IDF) training base located near Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underscored the IDF’s capability to conduct operations within the Gaza Strip, even entering the Al Shifa medical center. He emphasized the military’s determination to target all Hamas members throughout the enclave.
Escalation of Hostilities
Hamas initiated a significant assault on October 7, launching a myriad of missiles from Gaza and orchestrating an armed incursion into southern Israel’s border areas. As a response to these hostilities, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that Israel was effectively ‘at war.’ Following this, the Israeli Army summoned 360,000 reservists and launched a campaign of heavy aerial bombardments across the Strip. Towards the end of October, Israeli forces entered Gaza in a movement aimed at dismantling Hamas infrastructure and rescuing over 200 hostages.
International Pleas for a Halt in Hostilities
The international community has been vocal in calling for an end to the violence, which has tragically resulted in the estimated death of approximately 11,500 civilians in Gaza—predominantly children and women—and over 1,200 fatalities in Israel.
Push for a Two-State Solution
Amidst the escalating conflict, there is a growing chorus advocating for a two-state solution to be the only viable pathway towards achieving a sustainable peace in the region. This solution harks back to the United Nations’ resolution in 1947. Despite Israel’s declaration to accept a two-state principle, they have not conclusively withdrawn from the occupied Palestinian territories.
The atrocities faced by the medical community in this conflict are a solemn reminder of the devastating impact of war on civilians and the fundamental human right to health and medical care.