International outcry grows over ‘unbearably desperate’ situation in Gaza hospitals

By: , , ,
Posted on:

< < Back to

WASHINGTON (NPR) – International outcry continues to grow over conditions at Gaza’s biggest hospital around which Israel’s military says it’s been battling Hamas fighters.

Doctors Without Borders released a voice memo from Dr. Mohammed Obeid from inside Al-Shifa Hospital saying the lives of dozens of babies are in peril after their incubators shut down because fuel to power generators ran out.

Patients and internally displaced people are pictured at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Nov. 10, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas.
Patients and internally displaced people are pictured at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Nov. 10, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas.
[Khader A Zanoun/AFP via Getty Images]
“We had two neonatal patients die actually because the incubator is not working because there is no electricity,” Obeid said. “So the situation is very, very bad. We need help.”

An Israeli military spokesman said troops are ready to help move newborn babies out of Al-Shifa on Sunday.

Obeid said the hospital is treating 600 patients, and that they are also running out of water and food.

Robert Mardini, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said on social media that the “unbearably desperate” situation at Al-Shifa Hospital must stop. United Nations humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said there can be “no justification for acts of war in health care facilities.”

Israel has not allowed any fuel to enter Gaza for more than a month. Israeli officials have confirmed that the military continues to clash with Hamas militants in the vicinity of hospitals in the the Gaza Strip, but said Al-Shifa is not under siege.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said on social media that Gaza City’s Al-Quds Hospital is “out of service and no longer operational” because of “the depletion of available fuel and power outage.” The PRCS, which runs Al-Quds Hospital, said hundreds of patients were trapped and 14,000 people were sheltering there.

On Saturday, Israel demanded the evacuation of Gaza hospitals and accused Hamas of using human shields in the facilities.

“The hospitals need to be evacuated so we can deal with Hamas,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for Israel’s military, told reporters.

Those who do manage to evacuate still face Israeli airstrikes in southern Gaza, where the United Nations says its shelters have only one shower for 700 people.

Meanwhile, thousands rallied in Israel Saturday night for the return of about 240 hostages held in Gaza.

No cease-fire until all hostages are released, Netanyahu says

In a televised speech Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there would be no cease-fire until all hostages are released.

He also said Israel was forging ahead with his vision for post-war Gaza, which clashes with Washington’s ideas. Netanyahu said Gaza will be demilitarized and Israel will maintain security control for the foreseeable future, saying that the Palestinian Authority would have no role there.

Washington has tried to discourage Israel from reoccupying Gaza. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the U.S. envisions a Palestinian government in both Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank as a step toward Palestinian statehood, which Netanyahu staunchly opposes.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reports more than 11,000 people in Gaza have been killed in Israeli military operations since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel that killed about 1,200 people.