Amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza, patients, staff, and displaced people have been forced to evacuate Al-Shifa Hospital, leaving behind only a small team of medical personnel to care for those too sick to move. The World Health Organization has described the hospital as a “death zone” and called for a full evacuation. Israeli forces have taken control of the facility, conducting a thorough search for Hamas fighters and evidence of an alleged underground command center.
The Israeli military claims that Hamas has embedded itself in civilian areas and hospitals, which has been a key justification for their military campaign. However, the hospital’s director denies ordering any evacuation and states that medical personnel are allowed to remain to support the patients who cannot be moved. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry in Gaza, under Hamas control, asserts that the military ordered a rapid clearance of the facility, leaving only one hour to vacate.
Despite the evacuation, there are still around 120 patients remaining at Al-Shifa Hospital who were unable to leave, including those in intensive care and premature babies. Six doctors, including Dr. Ahmed Mokhallalati, have dedicated themselves to staying behind and providing vital care. The situation is dire, given that most of Gaza’s hospitals are non-functional due to fuel shortages, damage, and other issues.
The evacuation from Al-Shifa Hospital occurred on the same day that internet and phone services were restored to the Gaza Strip, ending a telecommunications blackout that disrupted crucial humanitarian aid deliveries. The blackout had forced the United Nations to suspend its aid coordination efforts.
As the conflict continues, Israel has expanded its offensive in Gaza City. The military has issued warnings for residents in specific neighborhoods and a refugee camp to evacuate for their safety. Israel has pledged to briefly halt military activities to facilitate their departure. In the south of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli airstrike hit a residential building in Khan Younis, resulting in the deaths of at least 26 Palestinians and injuring 20 others.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized that Israel is making efforts to prevent the outbreak of disease in Gaza by sending two fuel trucks per day. However, the international community remains concerned about the increasing civilian casualties. Netanyahu blames Hamas for using Palestinian civilians as human shields, accusing the group of deliberately trapping them behind their fighters.
The situation in Gaza remains critical, with most of the population seeking shelter in the south of the region. President Biden has called for a two-state solution in an op-ed, highlighting the need for international resources and commitment to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Q: Why did Al-Shifa Hospital evacuate?
A: Al-Shifa Hospital evacuated due to the conflict in Gaza and the Israeli military’s search for alleged Hamas fighters and command centers.
Q: Are there still patients at Al-Shifa Hospital?
A: Yes, approximately 120 patients, including those in intensive care and premature babies, remain at Al-Shifa Hospital.
Q: What is the status of other hospitals in Gaza?
A: Most of Gaza’s hospitals are non-functional, with only a few partially operational, due to fuel shortages, damage, and other issues.
Q: How is Israel addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza?
A: Israel is sending two fuel trucks per day to Gaza to prevent the outbreak of disease.
Q: What is the international community’s response to the crisis in Gaza?
A: The international community is called to commit resources and take action to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.