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
February 19,2024

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The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has denounced Israel’s plan to restrict Palestinians’ entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, warning that the measure will explode the whole situation.

“An outburst of anger is waiting to go off in the face of the occupying regime in response to any restrictions on worship at the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan,” Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, said on Sunday.

Earlier, Hamas had roundly condemned Israel’s plan to restrict Palestinians’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, stating that the decision is a reflection of the Zionist crimes and the religious war waged by hardliner elements in the Israeli administration against the Palestinian people.

In a statement, the Gaza-based group said the restrictions would be a “violation of the freedom of worship” in the holy site, adding that the plan showed Israel’s intention to increase its attacks on the mosque during the Muslim fasting month.

The statement called on Palestinians in occupied East al-Quds, the occupied West Bank and the 1948-occupied territories to reject and resist this “criminal decision”, urging them to “take action and flock to al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday gave his green light to the recommendations of so-called national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and approved the restriction of Palestinians’ entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

A limited number of Palestinians will reportedly be allowed to enter the mosque during the month.

Several Hebrew-language media outlets, including Keshet 12 television channel, reported in the last two days that Israel’s so-called internal security service, Shin Bet, had warned the Tel Aviv regime that prohibiting Palestinians from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan “could lead to major disturbances.”

The agency warned that this decision could cause more “dangerous” disruption than the eruption of tensions in al-Quds, the West Bank, and the 1948-occupied territories.

Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces have restricted Palestinian Muslims’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque, particularly on Fridays.

Last Friday, despite Israeli restrictions, approximately 25,000 Palestinian worshippers were able to enter the mosque in the Old City of al-Quds to perform Friday prayers for the first time since the war.

Ramadan is expected to begin this year on or around March 10.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has slammed the heads of Muslim states for failing to cut their relations with the Israeli occupation regime.

During a meeting with the participants at the 40th International Qur'an Competition in Tehran on Thursday, the Leader called on Muslim countries to openly express their opposition to Israel, sever ties with the regime and cut off support for it.

Ayatollah Khamenei also called on people in Muslim countries to press their governments to take stronger action on Gaza.

Ayatollah Khamenei described the Palestinians' plight in the Gaza Strip as the most important issue of the Muslim world today, adding, "Certainly, the Muslim world is mourning for Gaza."

The Leader emphasized that the resistance forces in Palestine and Gaza are acting in accordance with the Holy Qur'an and are standing against the enemy, but wondered whether Muslim countries and their leaders were implementing the Qur'anic teachings regarding the Gaza situation.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the people of Palestine will achieve a victory through God's assistance, noting that the Muslim world would witness the destruction of the "Zionist cancerous tumor" by God's grace.

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News Network
March 3,2024

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A young Palestinian journalist Motasem Dalloul took a short break from his reporting to fetch food for his pregnant wife and little children, who were starving.

When Dalloul came back, he saw them lying under the rubble. They were killed in an Israeli bombing of a residential compound in Yafa Street, Gaza City. The incident occurred on February 28, 2024. 

“To Allah we belong and to Him we return my pregnant wife, Rahim, and my 3-year-old son, Abu Baker, have been Killed along with 20 other people in the Israeli bombing of a residential compound in Yafa Street, in the city of Gaza,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The graphic picture of the lifeless bodies of the duo was attached to the post, which drew anger and outrage from netizens over the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

Journalists in the besieged coastal strip have borne the brunt of the Israeli genocidal war since October 7, with more than 130 scribes killed by the occupying regime so far.

However, more tragically, Gaza-based journalists have also lost their families and houses in what human rights activists believe are deliberate attacks to muzzle their voices.

The death toll in Gaza has already surpassed the mark of 30,000, most of them children and women. Earlier this week, more than 100 people were killed after regime forces and tanks opened fire on a large crowd of people who were queuing up to collect aid.

This starvation that Palestinians in Gaza are facing separated Dalloul from his family.

Dalloul went out to search for some food for his hungry wife and kids. He came back to see the house where the family had sought refuge bombed by the apartheid regime.

“At night, she told me she was hungry. I said: I had nothing to do except risking my life to get some aid. She begged me not to go, but I insisted. I LOVED her too much. I LOVED her more than my soul,” he wrote in a post on X, overwhelmed by emotions.

“I went there and succeeded in getting flour and I was happy that she would eat with my little kids. Before I reached them, I was told they were bombed and wounded. I left the flour and rushed to the hospital, found my 6-year-old sim, Asem, wounded and her and my little angel Abu Baker martyred. I got very crazy.” 

Dalloul’s three-year-old son Asem survived the attack and is now recovering from injuries.

In another post, the Palestinian journalist shared a picture of his house, razed to the ground, where his pregnant wife and child were killed.

“Here, from under this rubble, my beloved wife and little angel ascended to Heaven. My heart is completely broken,” he wrote.

UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, has repeatedly stressed that denial of food is a war crime and constitutes a "situation of genocide."

Israel has been intentionally starving Palestinians and should be held accountable for war crimes and genocide, according to the UN’s leading expert on the right to food.

“Intentionally depriving people of food is clearly a war crime. Israel has announced its intention to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, simply for being Palestinian. This is now a situation of genocide. This means…Israel in its entirety is culpable and should be held accountable – not just individuals or this government or that person,” Fakhri said.

A day before Dalloul’s family got killed; the journalist described their plight amid the worsening food situation in the besieged strip due to the crippling siege.

“We are hungry. I got sick after walking more than 20 kilometers every day since the beginning of the week and got nothing.”

“Last night was the worst since the start of the genocide as I was separated from my son. Two of my sons went to try collecting some aid today. I pray for their safety and wish they get something to eat,” he hastened to add, not knowing that the pain of separation would become permanent.

As per a consensus among hunger experts across the globe, a huge civilian population like that of Palestinians in Gaza has never been starved in such a brief period.

“Israel is not just targeting civilians, it is trying to damn the future of the Palestinian people by harming their children,” Fakhri was quoted as saying.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said 10 children have died of starvation in the besieged strip, pointing to the gravity of the humanitarian catastrophe.

“The official records, yesterday or this morning, said that there was a 10th child officially registered in a hospital as having starved to death,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said.

As per the statistics provided by Project Hope, a health and humanitarian NGO, 21 percent of the pregnant women and 11 percent of the children in Gaza under the age of 5 that were treated by the organization in the last three weeks suffer from malnutrition.

As per a UN report released on February 19, one in six children under the age of 2 is acutely malnourished in the northern part of the coastal strip, “putting young children at highest risk of medical complications and death unless they receive urgent treatment.”

“The Gaza Strip is poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths which would compound the already unbearable level of child deaths in Gaza,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations (ASG), Ted Chaiban.

“If the conflict doesn’t end now, children’s nutrition will continue to plummet, leading to preventable deaths or health issues which will affect the children of Gaza for the rest of their lives and have potential intergenerational consequences,” Chiban added.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court regards intentionally starving a particular civilian population by denying them food, water and shelter as a war crime.

The Geneva Conventions also recognize starvation as a war crime. In 2018, the UN Security Council placed deliberate deprivation of food on the list of war crimes.

Experts say that Israel’s claim of exceptions in war crimes holds no ground. The regime is purposefully destroying the food system, holding humanitarian aid, to let hunger and diseases spread in Gaza.

Meanwhile, a day after losing his wife and son, Dalloul returned to his professional duty.

“Motasem Dalloul continues to cover the ongoing genocide despite losses in his immediate family. If there is any journalist you should be following in Gaza, it's him,” wrote Wad Kosti.

The Gazan journalist asked the world to pray for his children recuperating from injuries and shock of losing their mother and sibling.

“Pray for my son, Asem, who was left without mother, due to Israeli bombing, along with three little daughters: Habiba, 7, Hafsa, 5 and Halima, 2.”

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