Day 38 roundtable: Israel’s war on hospitals

“The whole area was bodies covered with blankets,” journalist Hind Khoudary told us on Monday’s livestream.

She talked about her journey fleeing to the south of the Gaza Strip last week, and the piece she wrote for The Intercept.

“And then on the other side, I found like four or five [Israeli soldiers] literally [taking] selfies, posing with their guns and laughing and posing and we were the background of the picture. [It was] very humiliating and dehumanizing – I never thought I would ever go through this,” she explained.

“And all the time, I was very terrified that they would see me, see one of my friends, my colleagues, because we’re all journalists – they literally published a list of journalists they want to assassinate. And we were terrified because we did not even go out with our press jackets because we thought, Oh my God, no, we won’t do that. And we left all of our press jackets, our helmets in Gaza [City].”

We also spoke with Sewar Elejla, a former doctor at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. Elejla is currently a researcher in Canada.

She wrote a piece for The Electronic Intifada last week on the effects of Israel’s genocidal attacks on children and pregnant women.

Elejla noted that even before this Israeli onslaught, the medical infrastructure in Gaza was already extremely precarious.

Now, after 38 days of bombing, she said the healthcare system “is extremely overwhelmed.”

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza, she said, reports “that what they consume nowadays in one day is equal to what they consumed for a month before this war – so over 38 days of war, this huge consumption of resources with no resupply is catastrophic.”

“Hospitals are now graves,” she said. “The only available thing is the hospital staff who can do this, [but] who are also targeted.”

In the second hour, Jon Elmer analyzed the military situation as Israel continues its “cowardly” attacks from the air.

“I couldn’t believe what we were watching – the utter cowardice of attacking hospitals in the way that they did, leaving people to die, when they don’t have the courage to stand and fight in any of these areas face-to-face with soldiers, but are willing to attack intensive care and cardiology units; and to cut neonatal, premature babies off from their access – the brutality of that, even after all these decades, covering this conflict was shocking to me,” Jon remarked.

“They’re not leaving their tanks. But they’re attacking from the air, with artillery, and from drones – attacking in the most cowardly way, the most vulnerable target in the entire Gaza Strip,” Jon said.

He also talked about the different types of armored vehicles Israel is using, and the Palestinian-manufactured Yassin rockets that are able to penetrate that Israeli armor.

And our executive director Ali Abunimah, in his opening remarks, described Israel’s military achievements as nothing more than “death and destruction.”

“There is no doubt that the reason there is any pressure [on Israel] at all is due to the popular outrage, anger and revulsion at this genocide. So the message is clear. We have to keep up the protests, keep raising our voices in every way, in every place that we can,” Ali said.

Watch the entire broadcast above or listen via Soundcloud below.


Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).