The American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) is extremely alarmed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have attacked and besieged Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, worsening an already catastrophic humanitarian crisis.
Earlier this week, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staff trapped in the hospital reported snipers shooting patients on the hospital compound, and soldiers attacking an ambulance and bombing civilians trying to flee. The World Health Organization (WHO) shared similar reports from its own contacts at the hospital.
The horrifying reports compound the already unbearable lack of electricity, water, and food in the hospital. According to Human Rights Watch Director Omar Shakir, as of November 14, “40 patients had died because fuel has run out… you have babies on incubators that have died.” There are 37 babies in the hospital.
Doctors at Al-Shifa have denied that the hospital is being used for military purposes, and the U.S. government is facing mounting pressure as Israel has failed to produce concrete evidence for its claim that Hamas is headquartered beneath the hospital. Even if such evidence exists, it does not absolve Israel of its obligations under international humanitarian law regarding civilians and taking precautionary measures.
“Hospitals are not battlegrounds,” said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths. We agree. The WHO has recorded over 137 attacks on health care facilities in Gaza. This should not, and cannot go on any longer.
AMHP has previously called on the United States government and the international community to call for an immediate ceasefire, establish safe-zones, and allow humanitarian aid, fuel, water, and food into the Gaza Strip. The call has become even more urgent today.