According to the United Nations, In a recent development in northern Gaza, all but one of the hospitals have stopped their operations leading to the intensification of humanitarian crisis in the region as the Israel-Hamas War continues.
Reports from the Gaza health ministry have also revealed that almost 170 Palestinian people have been laid to rest in a grave at al-Shifa hospital which is Gaza’s largest medical facility. The difficulty in burying them elsewhere is there because of the siege of the hospital from all directions.
Israel again and again asserted that al-Shifa is serving as a strategic site for Hamas operations and is situated directly above the group’s underground infrastructure which targets for destruction by the Israeli military. Echoing this claim, the White House cites US intelligence, pointing to Hamas operating a ‘1command and control centre’ within the hospital premises.
John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, alleges that members of Hamas are storing weapons in al-Shifa and exploiting hospitals and tunnels, including those beneath al-Shifa, to hold hostages.
On the contrary, doctors at al-Shifa strongly deny its use as a military base, claiming that it functions as a shelter for thousands of patients, medical personnel, and civilians who are caught in the crossfire.
The degrading hospital situation has strained relations between Israel and its allies. The US, France, and other Western nations are urging Israel to exercise restraint, particularly in close to medical facilities.
In a recent statement, US President Joe Biden also disclosed that discussions with Israel underscored the imperative to protect hospitals, expressing hope for less intrusive actions.
John Kirby emphasised that the US does not support airstrikes on hospitals and acknowledged the complexity of Israel’s military operations given Hamas’s deep integration within the civilian population. At al-Ahli which is a last functioning hospital in the northern strip, doctors are conducting the surgeries for injuries up to the moderate level without anaesthesia, because of the restrictions in regular supplies.
The UN’s humanitarian arm reports a distressing toll with the death of 32 patient including three premature babies at al-Shifa since Saturday. The fatalities are attributed to power losses and dangerous conditions. The director warns of medics resorting to desperate measures, including wrapping babies in cellophane to sustain life after incubators ceased functioning due to power shortages. The situation remains critical, demanding urgent attention on the global stage.
What is Hamas?
Hamas is a Palestinian political armed group that was founded in 1987. It’s a militant group that emerged as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation. It was created in 1987 as an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood seeking to fulfil its agenda through violent jihad. It gained popularity as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation and Fatah. The United States has designated Hamas a terror organization since 1997. Many other countries, including Israel and most of Europe, see it the same way. Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded. Hamas rejects any alternative to the complete liberation of Palestine.
On October 7, Hamas led a surprise terrorist attack on Israel, killing roughly 1,400 people including at least 300 soldiers, according to the Israeli government — in their homes, at a music festival and on the streets.
In retaliation, Israel’s government vowed to destroy Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that dominates the Gaza Strip and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel and other countries.