By: Hamail Tahir
The Israel-Hamas War has entered a new wave of catastrophe as the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has now launched a ground operation and raids the largest medical facility; Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip which is sadly considered a safe haven for many Palestinians. It is claimed as a command center of the Hamas Group by the IDF. International Organizations such as the United Nations and other aid bureaus have expressed torment over this assault as many patients and displaced people, including medical staff, are trapped. This is a clear violation of international law when sick, wounded, pregnant women, and children are under the radar. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (PA) called this attack a ‘barbaric war of aggression and an open war of genocide’ during his speech that marked the 35th anniversary of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence.
It is now reported that the Palestinian death toll has crossed 11,000 people (Al-Jazeera) which may further claim more lives if no measures are taken to stop these war crimes. International Leaders took to X (formerly known as Twitter) and expressed their concerns over the barbaric raid by the IDF. Minister of Foreign Affairs Jordan, Ayman Safadi, in his statement, wrote “The Council is providing cover for war crimes. This is unacceptable, and unjustifiable. The Council must act.”
According to Al Jazeera Reporter Tareq Abu Azzoum, almost 7500 Palestinians had taken shelter in the hospital which included patients, doctors, and displaced people. Medical operations are taking place without any anesthesia and ice-cream trucks are being used as morgues. Premature babies are subject to threat as the facilities are running out of service.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while talking to CBS Evening News stated that they had strong indications that hostages were allegedly held in Shifa Hospital making it one of the reasons for launching ground operation. Israel spokesman Daniel Hagari also claimed that the IDF found the body of a hostage known as Yehudit Weiss who was murdered by the ‘terrorist’ group in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Army Spokesperson Jonathan Conricus claims that Hamas systematically uses hospitals in military operations and states this as a ‘violation of the international law’ while Hamas denies these allegations. In support of Hamas, the doctors, health officials, and patients also deny the allegations. UN Security Council on Wednesday passed a resolution that urges a staunch pause on the humanitarian crisis as 1.5 million people have been displaced while the blockade of Israel may result in many civilians experiencing starvation. This blackout and blockade may cause severe despair among civilians and may result in complications in the distribution of aid.
It is quite uncertain whether the International Criminal Court or International Law will have an immediate effect. The Palestinian diplomat called for recognition of the genocide that is taking place in Gaza at the UN meeting in Geneva. However, there is a need for civil societies to put immense pressure on their governments for states to acknowledge Israel as not an upright member of the International Community.