Israel continues attack on al-Shifa Hospital with systemic violence

A white donkey pulls a cart with people in it, including young children

Palestinians from the area around al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City are being forced to flee to southern Gaza, 18 March.

Naaman Omar APA images

Israeli forces have continued their siege and attacks on al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for the fourth consecutive day.

On Thursday, the Israeli army detonated and completely destroyed the specialized surgery building, which it had already bombed and set on fire on Monday.

Since Monday, Israeli soldiers have killed at least 140 Palestinians at al-Shifa, including more than 50 between Wednesday and Thursday, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

During the ongoing raid, the Israeli army prevented doctors and medical staff from treating their patients, resulting in more than a dozen deaths.

The Government Media Office in Gaza stated that “doctors and nurses were arrested and removed from the departments and forced to strip off their clothes, and prevented from reaching the patient rooms to attempt to save them.”

Israel’s army, the media office added, is “systematically and deliberately committing the crime [of] genocide with premeditated intention, and is committing horrendous and clear crimes against humanity by using the weapon of starving the sick and wounded, and practicing deliberate medical negligence against them, the rest of the medical and nursing staff, and the displaced people inside the compound.”

The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor says it has documented eyewitness accounts of Israeli soldiers arresting and then executing Palestinians inside the hospital, “reflecting a pattern of systemic violence.”
“Israeli soldiers repeatedly took prisoners into the hospital’s morgue area, that gunshots were then heard, and that the soldiers left without the prisoners,” the group reported, citing a survivor of the raid, on Wednesday.

According to one eyewitness, who was detained, handcuffed, stripped naked and left for more than nine hours in the hospital courtyard, Israeli soldiers led small groups of detained Palestinians into hospital buildings, including the morgue.

“Gunshots were heard, with the soldiers then leaving the area to bring another group there,” the witness said.

“These civilians were likely subjected to unlawful killings and executions, as all the information obtained by Euro-Med Monitor’s field team suggests that since Al-Shifa Medical Complex was restored on Sunday/Monday night, 100 Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in and outside of it,” the group reported.

The Israeli army has reportedly “refused to allow civil defense crews to reach and rescue hundreds of injured people who had issued calls for help in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital,” OCHA reported, citing the Palestinian Civil Defense spokesperson in Gaza.

The army added “that about 3,700 people passed through a checkpoint it established,” forcing Palestinians to move southwards.

The military has detained more than 300 people at that checkpoint and from inside the hospital grounds.

Residential areas around the hospital complex have been targeted by Israeli airstrikes and ground troops.
The Israel army’s chief of staff boasted on Thursday that the campaign of slaughter and destruction at al-Shifa Hospital is aimed at pressuring Hamas to concede to Israel’s demands during the current ceasefire negotiations in Doha.
Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance groups have been fighting the Israeli forces around al-Shifa.

Videos from the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, show Palestinian fighters targeting several Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers.

One Israeli sniper who had taken a position in a building inside the al-Shifa complex was shot by a Palestinian sniper, Qassam reported.




A new article on the BBC website today."New Gaza hospital raid sign of Hamas capabilities". That can be put alongside the "Precision Military operation" that blew up an entire surgical block. You see what the BBC is saying is, that trying to defend hospitals from Israeli attacks is an example of Hamas terrorism. Is there no end to British colonial atrocities. Eighty years since their empire collapsed the BBC continues to pump out its imperialist lies.

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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).