Gaza hospitals received 'explicit threats' from Israeli forces, medics say

Gaza hospitals received 'explicit threats' from Israeli forces, medics say
Gaza hospitals receive 'explicit threats' from Israeli forces, medics say, issuing an urgent plea for international intervention.
4 min read
18 October, 2023
Gazan hospitals received “numerous explicit written threats” from Israeli force, PRCS says [Getty]

Gazan hospitals received "numerous explicit written threats" from Israeli forces, The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said on Wednesday, adding that the PRCS Al-Quds hospital received such threats three times. 

The group urged the international community to intervene to pressure Israel to rescind evacuation orders for hospitals. 

"The PRCS is appalled and horrified by the bombardment of Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, which led to the killing of hundreds of civilians including women, children, health care professionals, and internally displaced people seeking safe shelter," the group said. 

"This war crime comes despite frequent declarations and pleas by these hospitals that these orders are impossible to implement, and they constitute a death sentence for patients- as stated by WHO," it added. 

The comments came as Israel denied it had struck the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, where almost 500 people were killed.  

Israel's relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip has killed 3,478 people, including over 1,000 children, and has left over 12,000 wounded- since it began on 7 October. 

The World Health Organisation has also condemned the attacks on Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in a post on X, which called for "the immediate active protection of civilians and health care".

"The hospital was one of 20 in the north of the Gaza Strip facing evacuation orders from the Israeli military," WHO wrote. 

The organisation added, “The order for evacuation has been impossible to carry out given the current insecurity, critical condition of many patients, and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity, and alternative shelter for those displaced.” 

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) additionally posted on X to address the attacks- describing the bombings of Al Ahli Hospital as a "massacre".

"We are horrified by the recent bombing of Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, which was treating patients and hosting displaced Gazans. Hundreds of people have reportedly been killed. This is a massacre. It is absolutely unacceptable," MSF said.

"Nothing justifies this shocking attack on a hospital and its many patients and health workers, as well as the people who sought shelter there. Hospitals are not a target. This bloodshed must stop. Enough is enough," the MSF added.

In information shared with The New Arab, which was dated 16 October, MSF raised concerns over the demands for healthcare professionals to evacuate northern Gaza while caring for various patients in dire aid- as a result of Israel’s ongoing attacks in the Gaza strip. 

MSF described the "grave conditions" of patients being treated in Gazan hospitals, which was reported to be intensified by Israel ordering "people to flee south" where "it continues to bomb the south".

The group added that “evacuation orders by Israel to hospitals in northern Gaza are a death sentence for the gravely sick and injured.” 

MSF said that Israeli evacuation cannot amount to "effective warnings" as Gazan residents cannot safely take concrete steps to "heed such warnings".

"People have been killed while evacuating, including family members of our colleagues," the group said.

The organisation concluded that "the evacuation does not guarantee safety" since hospital patients are not guaranteed a safe relocation while "medical services are not in place". 

"While people must be able to flee to a safe space if they want, they must also have the right to return," MSF said.

Yafa Abu Aker, a Gaza-based independent journalist, spoke to The New Arab about the difficulty of both the humanitarian and the healthcare situation in Gaza since October 7.  

"Hospitals will completely fail. There's no internet or gas. The injured and the ill are surviving on medical equipment that will stop without electricity. It's a straightforward death sentence for the masses," Abu Aker said.

"Bakeries were struck, houses were struck, towers were struck. What's happening in Gaza is a war crime. They withheld medicine and medical treatment. They withheld food and water, internet and electricity," Abu Aker added.

"This is the worst Gaza has ever witnessed. Hundreds of martyrs are in the streets now under the rubble. Hundreds of injured are just lying on the ground without beds or treatment. Half a million are refuged to the south without basic life necessities."