By Sophie Squire
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2881

Israel’s war on hospitals across Gaza means that babies die

The healthcare system has totally collapsed
Issue 2881
Three women on Palestine protest, illustrating a story about Israel bombing Gaza hospitals

A protest in London following the Israeli bombing of Ahli hospital in Gaza (Picture: Guy Smallman)

The Israeli state is systematically targeting babies, hospitals, health workers, the sick and the dying in its plan to eliminate Palestinian resistance in Gaza.

On Monday Gaza’s health ministry did not release an updated death toll from Israel’s assaults because of the almost total collapse of the healthcare system.

At al-Shifa hospital, Dr Munir Albursh, the director general of the ministry of health said, “Stray dogs found the dead bodies inside, and started eating them while we were watching.”

Al-Shifa, Gaza’s biggest medical facility, had to shut down due to lack of medicine and fuel on Monday. Nearly all hospitals across Gaza were said to be “essentially out of service”.

Hospitals are not only being attacked by Israeli forces from the air. The Israeli army is also laying siege to them from the ground.

Israeli forces surrounded the al-Shifa Hospital, trapping health workers, patients and all those sheltering at the hospital inside.

Premature babies are particularly at risk and have been dying as a result of Israeli forces denying enough fuel to run generators that power the incubators to keep them warm.

On Monday Dr Mohamed Tabasha, head of the paediatric department at Al Shifa, said, “Yesterday I had 39 babies, and today they have become 36. I cannot say how long they can last. I can lose another two babies today or in an hour.”

Another doctor, Ahmed El Mokhallalati, added that the babies are “in a very bad situation where you slowly kill them unless someone interferes to adjust or to improve their situation.”

“We don’t have electricity. There’s no water in the hospital. There’s no food,” said one doctor at Al-Shifa Hospital, in a statement published by Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

“People will die in a few hours without functioning ventilators. In front of the main gate, there are many bodies.

The ground invasion of Gaza continued this week, with more Israeli troops entering the Strip and trying to seize control of the Western part of Gaza City.

Israeli forces focused their deadly raids on Khan Younis and the Jabalia refugee camp on Monday, murdering Palestinians as they went. It’s likely that the death toll has already passed 12,000.

Tens of thousands more have been forced to flee their homes through supposedly safe “humanitarian corridors.”

Ibitsam, who lives in Deir al Bala in central Gaza, told Socialist Worker on Sunday of last week, “The ground invasion is horrific. The feelings of humiliation and grief are indescribable.

“Most of the civilians have left Gaza City and northern Gaza to the middle of Gaza and south. The scene of this emigration is heartbreaking as it reminds us of the Nakba of 1948.”

Yet despite everything, the Palestinian resistance is still fighting back.

Settlers on murderous rampage in West Bank

Israeli settlers are seizing parts of the West Bank, according to Eidu, a resident of the Umm al Khair village in Hebron.

“The Israeli military is letting settlers do what they want,” he told Socialist Worker. “When the soldiers leave to go to attack Gaza, we are left with the settlers.

“Israeli forces have given them military cars and vehicles. They are even dressing in military uniform.

“Things were bad before the 7 October. The attacks by settlers didn’t start then, but they have got worse.

“The Israeli forces and settlers have blocked the roads. They have isolated us. They have stopped us from using the main highways. We have had to find new ways to contact each other.

“We can’t call for help from anyone. We are alone. There are no journalists to document what is going on.”

Israeli forces told villagers in Umm al Khair that foreigners weren’t allowed to enter their village. Last week, Brazilian activists who were trying to visit the village were followed by soldiers and then told if they tried to come back, their car would be confiscated.

Eidu added that repression, intimidation and harassment by Israeli soldiers and settlers is a daily nightmare. “We know the settlers want the land. They’ll do anything to get it. They cut down olive trees. They attack animals and farmers.

“We are living in fear of tomorrow. I pray for this war to end. Because now, at this time, in the West Bank, it’s an emergency. There is no law here. I am worried about myself and my family.”

On Sunday of last week, Eidu said that Israeli soldiers had driven to Umm al Khair, where they detained workers. This is the daily reality for those in the West Bank, who the Zionists push from their homes and land.

Netanyahu wants new Nakba

The United States and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu are at odds over the future of the Gaza Strip.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has outlined a plan for “Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority (PA).”

The US thinks the best way to blunt Palestinian resistance is to get the PA to  police more militant groups.

And Blinken added that the plan should include a “pathway to Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in states of their own, with equal measures of security, freedom, and dignity.” It’s an illusion peddled for decades that such an outcome is possible.

But Netanyahu won’t even play along with such fictions. He said Israel would not “cave” on PA control of Gaza and that he wanted to maintain security control” in Gaza for “as long as necessary”.

He added, “There needs to be something else there, not the PA.”

And he added the Israeli military forces will “remain in control of the strip”. “We will not give it to international forces,” he said.

Last Sunday, agriculture minister Avi Dichter, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, said, “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba.”

War criminal to police war crimes

Tony Blair is the Israeli state’s first choice to become “humanitarian coordinator for the Gaza Strip”.

According to media reports, Blair’s “experience” in the Middle East will be of use to try to squash international worries about human rights abuses in Gaza.

While Blair has not yet accepted the role, one of his colleagues said that he would be interested if it “was a genuine chance to change course on the humanitarian side.”

After leaving Number 10, Blair has been paid very well to be part of the envoy to the Middle East for the US, UN, European Union and Russia.

He will now be keen to offer his skills in imperialist warmongering to Israel.

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