A hospital that no longer functions as a hospital.
Around the Shifa Clinic in Gaza City, the war is showing its ugliest side. In recent days, fighting between the Israeli army and the Islamist Hamas around the clinic building in the Rimal district has increased massively. Israel suspects that Hamas has set up its military headquarters in tunnels beneath the hospital complex. Hamas denies this.
The World Health Organization speaks of “appalling conditions”. There are more than 2,000 people in the Shifa clinic, including probably more than 600 patients and around 1,500 displaced people, the WHO wrote on Monday on the X platform (formerly Twitter). She refers to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, which is controlled by the Islamist organization. Among other things, the clinics lack fuel to run generators, which is why they no longer have electricity. Accordingly, patients could no longer receive dialysis, among other things. Premature babies were also transferred to operating rooms without incubators.
According to the Deputy Minister of Health, six premature babies and nine seriously ill patients have now died. The WHO called on both sides for an immediate ceasefire.
International community calls on Israel to avoid hospital-based fighting
The European Union also condemned Hamas’ use of hospitals and civilians as shields. “Civilians must be allowed to leave the combat zone,” said a statement from EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU on Sunday evening. “In this context, we demand Israel Urgently to exercise the greatest possible restraint in order to ensure the protection of the civilian population.”
“The civilian casualties in this war are a pure catastrophe,” emphasized Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Israeli army, in an interview with ZDF on Sunday evening. “The civilians are paying a high price. A price that Hamas has decided with its decision to attack us (…). We have no alternative. We have to change this paradigm.” According to the spokesman, it is therefore “indispensable” that people evacuate the hospital. They try to coordinate, help and differentiate between non-combatant civilians and soldiers. It was “a huge challenge for any army,” the spokesman said, adding, “but we want to defeat Hamas and that brings us one step closer to our goal.”
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn also called on Israel to show restraint. “Hospitals must not be a battlefield,” he demanded, referring to suspected Israeli air strikes on the Al-Shifa-Clinic. “There are babies here who are suffocating because there is no more oxygen,” said Asselborn. On Sunday, the National Security Advisor at the White House had already found similar words. “The United States does not want hospital battles where innocent people and patients receiving medical care are caught in the crossfire,” Jake Sullivan told CBS.
“The situation is breaking,” warned Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) on Monday in Brussels after her third trip to the crisis-hit region.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.