What Are the Israeli Endeavors Behind Targeting Health Facilities and Aid Workers in Gaza?

“Aid groups urged the Israeli authorities to adhere to the international laws that protect humanitarian workers.”

“Aid groups urged the Israeli authorities to adhere to the international laws that protect humanitarian workers.”

Murad Jandali | 2 months ago

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The Israeli occupation launched a new phase in its war on the Gaza Strip, as it announced the end of its operations in al-Shifa Medical Complex and the al-Rimal neighborhood, west of Gaza City, after its army confirmed that it had killed about 200 people inside, claiming to be Hamas members, and arrested about 900 others.

The medical complex, which is considered the largest in the Gaza Strip, is currently out of service and became completely idle at a time when eyewitness testimonies revealed horrific incidents, field killings, torture, and abuse of patients, with a massive spread of corpses around the facility.

Hundreds of families of patients and displaced people flocked to al-Shifa Medical Complex early in the morning of April 1 to inspect the hospital and its surroundings and to search for their sick relatives.

Since the start of its operation around al-Shifa Medical Complex on March 18, there have been reports that the Israeli army has used Palestinian civilians as human shields in its military operation inside and around the medical complex.

On the other hand, the Israeli army recently announced that it had dismissed two officers from service and reprimanded three others for their role in the raids that targeted the cars of the seven aid workers who were killed in Gaza at the beginning of this April.

This Israeli admission, which is considered embarrassing for "Tel Aviv," comes after an internal investigation and with increasing accusations of the Israeli army from its main allies, including the United States, of not doing enough to protect civilians in Gaza.

It is noteworthy that, since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza, a total of nearly 200 humanitarians have been killed, including 175 UN employees in Gaza.

"Israel" is accused by international relief organizations and associations of violating human rights and international conventions through violent and indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip, where it has so far killed more than 33 thousand, according to official figures from the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Israeli Crimes

The Israeli army withdrew from al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza, which it had besieged and stormed two weeks ago, leaving a lot of destruction and bodies.

The government media office in the Gaza Strip accused the Israeli army of killing 400 civilians and hiding their bodies in the vicinity of al-Shifa medical complex.

The office revealed that the Israeli army tried to hide its crime by executing hundreds of civilians, the wounded, and the sick inside the medical complex by covering the bodies with sand or burning them.

It pointed out that some of the bodies were crushed as a result of being run over by tanks and military bulldozers.

On March 18, the Israeli army began its second military operation in al-Shifa Medical Complex since the start of its aggression against the Gaza Strip.

It justified his second operation by the availability of intelligence information about the presence of senior officials from the Palestinian military factions there.

Members of the Israeli army forced more than 25,000 Palestinian civilians to evacuate their homes in the vicinity of al-Shifa Medical Complex. 

According to initial estimates, the Israeli army demolished and set ablaze over 1,200 housing units in the vicinity of al-Shifa Medical Complex.

The Israeli army had previously announced that it had eliminated more than 200 Hamas members in the al-Shifa Complex area, pledging to continue the military operation until the last fighter was arrested.

On its part, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that al-Shifa Medical Complex was out of service, speaking of very significant destruction in it and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

"The Israeli occupation forces burned all sections of the complex and destroyed all medical equipment, devices, and supplies," it added.

In parallel with the military operation in al-Shifa Medical Complex, there were reports that Israeli forces were present in Nasser Medical Complex, while the Palestinian Red Crescent stated that Israeli military operations were also taking place in al-Amal Hospital, both in the city of Khan Yunis.

Since the outbreak of the war on October 7, the Israeli army has launched a number of operations that have targeted hospitals, medical facilities, and the surrounding neighborhoods, accusing Hamas of using them as a cover for its activities.

But Hamas strongly denied that its fighters used al-Shifa Medical Complex and other health facilities.

The World Health Organization (WHO) documented at least 410 attacks on healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip. According to the global website Peoples Dispatch, this resulted in damage to 30 hospitals and 104 ambulances.

It pointed out that 16 out of 19 hospitals and 18 out of 20 primary healthcare centers in Gaza are out of service.

Last week, WHO announced that four people were killed and 17 others were injured in an Israeli bombing on al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

On its part, the Israeli army said that an Air Force plane bombed an operational command center and terrorists stationed in the courtyard of al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the Deir al-Balah area.

Grave Mistakes

On April 5, the Israeli army claimed it was targeting a Hamas militant when it targeted a World Central Kitchen convoy, which led to the deaths of seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip, admitting that it had committed a series of grave mistakes and violations of its own laws.

The seven workers — three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, an American–Canadian dual citizen, and a Palestinian — were killed in three raids within four minutes by an Israeli march while they were fleeing from one car to another, according to what the army said, which indicated in a statement an operational misjudgment in assessing the situation after spotting an armed man suspected of being from the Hamas movement.

The Israeli bombing sparked international condemnation, and the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) launched an investigation, which concluded with the decision to dismiss two officers and formally reprimand senior commanders.

The three cars bearing the logo of the United States-based World Central Kitchen organization on their roofs were transporting aid to the northern Gaza Strip and were bombed in Deir al-Balah in the center of the Strip on the night of April 1.

In turn, the organization's founder, Jose Andres, told Reuters that "the Israeli attack systematically targeted employees, one vehicle after another."

World Central Kitchen's decision to suspend its operations also led to the freezing of the sea aid corridor from Cyprus, which the charity helped establish last month, to increase the flow of aid to northern Gaza and avert a looming famine.

The Norwegian Refugee Council warned that what happened to the World Central Kitchen threatens the entire aid system and left it on the brink.

On April 4, international relief organizations said that they could not do more to protect their employees in the Gaza Strip and that the responsibility to avoid killing them fell on "Israel" at a time when the United Nations called for direct humanitarian coordination with the Israeli army.

The UN says at least 196 humanitarian workers have been killed so far in The Israeli Occupation's six-month-old war in Gaza.

While some relief organizations suspended their operations in the wake of the raid that targeted the World Central Kitchen convoy, none of them announced that they plan to withdraw from Gaza, despite repeated attacks on relief efforts in the Strip, where the UN warns of an imminent famine.

In February, an UNRWA convoy carrying food supplies was bombed by the Israeli Navy along a coastal road while it was waiting for permission from Israeli forces to cross into northern Gaza.

The Israeli army said that the convoy was accidentally bombed, while UNRWA suspended the delivery of aid to the north.

It is noteworthy that the UN has repeatedly complained about the Israeli obstacles that hinder the entry of aid into Gaza and its distribution throughout the Strip.

Dr. Isabelle Defourny, president of Doctors Without Borders in France, said the humanitarian coordination system was not working, and she could not imagine a way to improve it while there was a lack of proportionality in how "Israel" waged the war.

"They know where we are, what we are doing, and where we will work… and despite that… security incidents occur," she said.

In turn, Palestinian journalist Iyad Hamad explained in a statement to Al-Estiklal that "the Israeli Occupation has multiple messages to target health facilities or relief organizations in Gaza, and what is happening is frightening and terrifies aid workers, and prompts them to wonder who is the next target?"

"The size of the weapons used by Israel in Gaza wants to emphasize that Gaza is a place of death and there should be no place for life," he said.

Mr. Hamad pointed out that "what happened in al-Shifa Medical Complex — which was seen as one of the most important components of the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the stricken Gaza Strip — is an Israeli attempt to justify the destruction of Palestinian society and the health system in Gaza."

"International law cannot prevent Israel, but there are measures that may be able to prevent Israel, including imposing strict US and European sanctions on it that ban the provision of weapons, in addition to popular pressure on the governments of Western countries to change their approach to Israel's impunity," he added.