Zionist Occupation's Atrocities at Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital




Hospitals enjoy special protection under international agreements. In the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in times of war, which was accredited on August 12, 1949, Article 18 stipulates: “Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.”

Over the past six months, the occupation has killed hundreds of doctors and detained hundreds more as a result of organized attacks on hospitals in Gaza. These crimes, witnessed by the world, are met with silence by the international community, which contentedly watches and merely expresses “its sadness” for the bombing, destruction, killing, and arrest of medical personnel, depriving patients of treatment. This is extremely shameful, as the World Health Organization has pointed out that the world's approval of the Israeli bombing of hospitals in Gaza is unbelievable and contradicts conscience.

In mid-November of last year, the occupation forces conducted their initial raid on the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza, arresting its medical staff on November 23, 2023. Among them was the hospital director, Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya, who was subjected to torture and humiliation. They broke his hands and legs because he refused to comply with the occupation's allegations of using the hospital for military purposes, constituting a crime against humanity and violating international norms that prohibit attacks on civilian institutions during wartime. The occupation was able to do so due to the silence of the international community regarding its crimes against civilian institutions and innocent people in Gaza.

Occupation forces retargeted the Al-Shifa Medical Complex for the second time on Monday’s dawn, March 18, 2024, which houses more than 7,000 patients and displaced persons, amidst heavy gunfire from tanks, drones, and soldiers. They killed and ran over patients and displaced persons, shelled the surrounding houses of the hospital, numbering over 1,000 homes, and imposed a tight siege on them. They also prevented ambulance crews and civil defense teams from reaching the wounded, providing them with medical assistance, or retrieving and burying the bodies.


The Various Executions of the Besieged at Al-Shifa Hospital

The occupation carried out various executions of those besieged in the Al-Shifa Hospital, which is the customary policy of the occupation in dealing inhumanely with civilians. They ran over some of them during the raid with bulldozers and tanks, and they deliberately killed others through direct shooting by soldiers and snipers. The consecutive confessions of the occupation army admitted to the killing of 90 Palestinians on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, and the killing of 50 civilians the following day, with nearly 200 others arrested in the complex and its surroundings.

The director general of the Government Media Office in Gaza pointed out that the occupation carried out executions inside the Al-Shifa hospital over the past two weeks, where they executed five doctors and nurses, killed more than 400 civilians inside the complex and its surroundings, and caused the deaths of 13 patients by denying them medicine, solutions, electricity, spare parts, and oxygen, leading to their deaths, in clear and explicit violation of international law and human rights conventions.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor revealed its documentation of the occupation army’s execution of 13 children in the Al-Shifa Medical Complex and its surroundings during the past week. Survivors of the massacres committed by the occupation authorities in the Al-Shifa Medical Complex recounted being forced—at gunpoint—to remove their clothes, then being told, “You are safe; go to Rafah,” and as they moved away, they were shot at as if they were haunted birds! In addition to the occupation, snipers stationed in the hospital and its surroundings randomly shot at anyone in front of them, to the extent that the bodies of the martyrs became scattered throughout the hospital and its surroundings, lying on the ground for days.

Arrests and Tortures

The occupation forces arrested and tortured patients, displaced persons, and medical staff inside and around the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, including women and children. They forced them to lie on the ground, stripped them of their clothes, and searched them. Some of them were used as human shields in inhumane conditions. About 1,000 civilians were arrested from the Al-Shifa complex, with 160 of them transferred to Israel for interrogation.

Arrests included torture, abuse, humiliation, deprivation of food, water, medication, and treatment for the sick, leading to wounds festering due to the lack of supplies, doctors, nurses, and medical equipment, resulting in the deaths of some and the impending deaths of others. One hundred and seven patients, including 30 wheelchair-bound individuals, and around 60 medical staff were trapped inside one of the Al-Shifa buildings in inhumane conditions, with the occupation ignoring any calls from international organizations to evacuate them.

The genocide and torture committed by the occupation authorities against Al-Shifa Hospital are beyond description and comprehension. Those who do not die from gunfire will perish from hunger, thirst, or their wounds and illnesses after being denied treatment. Hunger and disease could kill more people than weapons do.

The occupation attempts to propagate its lies and justify the crimes witnessed by the world, claiming that the hospital harbors elements of resistance and is being used for military purposes. They allege that their mission at the hospital is not yet complete and claim to have arrested members of the resistance in the hospital, among other lies, in an attempt to justify their atrocities.

Christopher Lockyear, the Secretary-General of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), directed a question to the Security Council, saying: “How can we sustain any kind of response when medical workers are being targeted, attacked, and vilified for helping the wounded? There is no health system to speak of left in Gaza. Israel’s military has dismantled hospital after hospital!”


Read the Article in Arabic

Last modified on Sunday, 21 April 2024 12:12