Gaza health situation ‘catastrophic’ despite truce as Israel compels most of hospitals to shut

News Network
November 29, 2023

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A senior health official in Gaza has raised the alarm over the dire situation of hospitals in the northern part of the besieged enclave despite a truce, describing it as “catastrophic” amid lack of medicine and fuel.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra made the remarks on Tuesday, saying health facilities in Gaza are bearing the brunt of Israel’s brutal assault on the blockaded territory.

“The health situation in the northern Gaza Strip is currently catastrophic because of the inaccessibility of medical aid and fuel to the hospitals in the north," Qudra said.

“Above that, the situation in the southern Gaza Strip is not at the best level, since limited supplies of medical aid and fuel reach it but are unable to get to the North," he added.

The Palestinian official also noted that only three hospitals are still operating in Gaza, warning that they cannot cover the health requirements inside the strip as they are small and are serving some 900,000 people.

He went on to say that hospital beds are completely full and wounded and sick people are lying on the ground, calling for a “guaranteed mechanism” to move hundreds of wounded on a daily basis to the hospitals in Egypt and other countries of the world.

Qudra further stressed the need to boost the health system in Gaza, calling for allowing the flow of medical aid and fuel to the strip while demanding large numbers of specialized medical teams to enhance hospital staff in the besieged enclave.

He also denounced the arrest of Muhammad Abu Salmiya, director of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, as “inhuman and illegal”, urging the international community to pressure the Israeli regime to release him and other medical staff.

Salmiya was arrested last week along with five other medical staff from the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Ministry of Health while they were evacuating patients from the hospital as part of a United Nations mission.

Israeli military spokesperson Doron Spielman said on Saturday that Abu Salmiya was being questioned following the regime’s allegations that the hospital houses a “command center” belonging to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Tel Aviv has long accused Hamas of using hospitals for housing Palestinian resistance fighters and their equipment and as an alleged launchpad for directing military operations against the occupying regime.

Under such pretexts, the regime has been targeting hospitals in the besieged enclave since the beginning of its war on Gaza last month.

Hamas has dismissed Israel’s allegations, saying it runs a vast network of underground tunnels and doesn’t need to use hospitals in any manner.

The Palestinian resistance group has called on the UN to form an investigative team in order to debunk Tel Aviv’s allegations.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

A four-day truce took effect on Friday to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza after seven weeks of unrelenting bombardment. The regime and Hamas agreed to extend it for two more days on Monday.

According to the Gaza-based health ministry, so far over 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes, most of them women and children.

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News Network
March 1,2024

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Abu Dhabi: The first Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi is opening its doors to all from today, March 1. Here are the rules for visitors – what is not allowed in the temple and when it is closed for visit.

The BAPS Hindu Mandir, the Middle East’s biggest and first traditional stone temple, was officially inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 14.

UAE residents had been urged to visit the temple from March 1 with pre-registration on a dedicated website and app. This was due to specially-themed events that were lined up on the days following the inauguration and a huge number of international visitors who had already registered to visit the temple during that time.

No more registration required

The management of the temple under the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) – a spiritual, volunteer-driven fellowship that has built over 1,100 temples across the world, revealed that no more registration is required for UAE residents to visit the temple.

“The UAE residents do not need to register to visit the mandir,” the management stated. It also revealed the mandir will be open only six days a week for visitors of all faiths.

“The Mandir will be closed on Mondays. The opening hours from Tuesday to Sunday are from 9am to 8pm.”

What is not allowed

The management also spelt out the things that are not allowed inside the temple.

No bags are allowed as there are no cloakrooms available, it said. Visitors are not allowed to carry food or drinks either. Photography inside the main mandir has also been banned to help maintain its spiritual environment, the management stated.

It said tens of thousands of people have already visited the temple.

“We have observed that thousands of people from wide ranging faiths are visiting daily and over 40,000 on the weekend. There are many facilities for visitors to enjoy, like the Orchard restaurant built entirely from recycled material and providing vegetarian meals and refreshments,” it added.

Festival of Harmony

Earlier on Sunday, more than 1,100 people took part in the ‘Palkhi Yatra’ – a grand procession of community members celebrating the cultural diversity at the temple.

Indian expat devotees representing north, south, east, west and central India participated in the procession wearing their traditional Indian attire and performing traditional devotional music and singing. It was the first time that such a pan-Indian procession had taken place.

The colourful procession marked the conclusion of the “Festival of Harmony,” a series of cultural and religious events held to celebrate the opening of the temple.

During the festival, the temple organised various events on different days dedicated to harmony, civilisation, peace and inspiration.

Various religious leaders, intellectuals and a lineup of eminent personalities from several walks of life attended.

Day of Inspiration

The ‘Day of Inspiration’ celebrated the pivotal role of women in uplifting society and their invaluable contributions to humanity. Organised and delivered by the women’s wing of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, more than 2,000 women of all ages attended and benefited from this special assembly.

Alongside the Festival of Harmony, BAPS Hindu Mandir also organised a blood donation drive in partnership with Aster Clinic with the participation of more than 500 visitors.

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News Network
February 24,2024

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The cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to build more than 3,300 new settler units in the occupied West Bank amid the ongoing war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

The announcement was made by Israel's extremist finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, who said in a statement that the plan includes 2,350 new units in Ma’ale Adumim, 300 in Kedar and 694 in Efrat.

Smotrich said the plan was a response to a retaliatory Palestinian shooting attack on a checkpoint near the occupied West Bank on Thursday, during which an Israeli settler was killed and 11 others injured.

The statement said the construction plan enjoyed backing from Netanyahu as well as Israeli minister of military affairs Yoav Gallant and minister of strategic affairs Ron Dermer.

The Israeli ministers also called for increased curbs on Palestinians, including heavy restrictions on movement after the retaliatory attack in the area.

The Israeli regime has over the past decades advanced plans to build new illegal settlements while the US and its allies have historically done little to pressure Tel Aviv to halt or roll back the illegal settlement expansion.

Tel Aviv has stepped up settlement expansion since December 2022, when Netanyahu staged a comeback as prime minister at the head of a cabinet of hard-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

The international community views the settlements – hundreds of which have been built across the West Bank since Tel Aviv’s occupation of the territory in 1967 – as illegal under international law and the Geneva Conventions due to their construction on the occupied territories.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

Lukewarm US reaction 

The move is almost certain to stoke up fresh storm in Washington, which is already under massive domestic and international pressure over its untrammeled support for Israel in the genocidal war on the Gaza Strip.

Reacting tepidly to Smotrich’s statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the construction of new Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank was a “disappointing” decision.

“It has been a longstanding policy of both Democratic and Republican administrations that new settlements are counterproductive to achieving enduring peace. They are also inconsistent with international law,” Blinken said at a news conference late Friday.

“Our administration maintains firm opposition to settlement expansion,” he added. r during Israel’s brutal aggression, which began following Operation al-Aqsa Storm by Gaza-based resistance movements in October last year.

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News Network
February 27,2024

A new report has published details of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas, under which the occupying regime will free 400 Palestinian abductees in exchange for the release of 40 held in captivity by the Gaza-based resistance group.

The swap deal, which will be accompanied by a six-week truce, came as part of the recent talks in the French capital Paris between Israeli, American, Egyptian and Qatari representatives. Al Jazeera reported.

Citing unidentified sources involved in the discussions, the report said Israel has agreed to free 400 Palestinians held in the regime’s prisons in return for 40 Gaza captives. 

Israel has also agreed to the gradual return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza – with the exception of young men, who are "of recruitment age," and the entry of further aid and temporary shelters into the besieged territory, including heavy machinery and equipment.

The regime has further agreed to halt its warplanes over the Gaza Strip, including intelligence-gathering ones, for eight hours.

The report came after an Israeli delegation traveled to Doha, where Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani separately met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said that he hopes for a ceasefire in Gaza by next Monday, when asked when he thought a truce could begin.

“Well I hope by the beginning of the weekend. The end of the weekend. My national security adviser tells me that we’re close. We’re close. We’re not done yet,” Biden said when asked when he thought a truce could begin.

“And my hope is that by next Monday [March 4] we’ll have a ceasefire.”

Israel waged a genocidal US-backed war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

However, almost five months into the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has failed to achieve its objectives of "destroying Hamas" and finding Israeli captives despite killing 29,782 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring 70,043 others.

A week-long humanitarian ceasefire in late November saw an exchange of 240 Palestinian abductees held by Israel with 105 captives, including 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners, in Gaza.

Israel believes 130 captives still remain in Gaza, while there are thought to be 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, many detained without charge.

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