The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Sunday that the largest hospital in Gaza has stopped operating, leading to a surge in patient fatalities. The relentless Israeli assault in the besieged enclave is compounding the humanitarian crisis.
According to Palestinian officials, over 11,000 Gaza residents, with approximately 40% being children, have lost their lives in air and artillery strikes since Friday. Hospitals in the northern part of Gaza, including the al-Shifa complex, are under blockade by Israeli forces, struggling to provide adequate care due to power outages caused by nearby intense fighting.
Israel claims to target Palestinian fighters responsible for attacking the country on October 7. However, health professionals at al-Shifa describe a dire situation with constant gunfire and bombings, making the hospital non-functional, as stated by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on social media.
With a significant increase in patient fatalities, Tedros, along with other top United Nations officials, has called for an immediate ceasefire. The President of Indonesia, urging a ceasefire and increased humanitarian aid, emphasized the urgency of peace negotiations.
Global responses to the crisis are varied. The European Union condemned the use of hospitals as human shields by Hamas but called on Israel to exercise maximum restraint. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan accused Hamas of violating laws of war by using hospitals for military purposes.
Protests against the Israeli military response have erupted worldwide, demanding a ceasefire. While Israel’s supporters argue that a ceasefire could enable Hamas to prepare for more attacks, the Biden administration pushes for pauses to allow civilians to flee and aid to enter the conflict zone.
The conflict’s escalation has raised concerns about a broader regional conflagration, with Hezbollah engaging in missile attacks with Israel, and resistance groups in Iraq and Syria launching attacks on US forces.
In the midst of the crisis, hospitals in Gaza, including al-Shifa and Al-Quds, are struggling to function. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that Al-Quds, the strip’s second-largest hospital, is also out of service, lacking essential supplies.
As the situation worsens, calls for a ceasefire and urgent humanitarian aid intensify, emphasizing the need for a swift resolution to prevent further loss of life.