As the conflict between Israel and Gaza continues, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defends Israel’s military assault on northern Gaza, while the United States expresses displeasure at hospitals being targeted and international criticism grows over the mounting civilian death toll.
The situation has forced tens of thousands of civilians to evacuate, evoking memories of the displacement experienced during the 1948 Arab-Israel war. With hospitals in Gaza operating under extremely challenging conditions and the civilian death toll rising, international pressure for a cease-fire is intensifying.
Netanyahu’s Defense and Hospital Attacks:
Netanyahu, in an interview with NBC News, justified Israel’s actions, stating that they are aiming to minimize civilian casualties and that they have no intention of targeting patients or civilians.
However, Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa, has turned into a battle zone, leaving around 10,000 displaced people and 1,500 patients trapped. The hospital is besieged by Israeli forces from all sides, leading to dangerous conditions for those inside.
Humanitarian Crisis and Civilian Deaths:
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in just over a month of war, with a significant number being victims of Israeli airstrikes.
Israel launched a ground offensive in response to the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants that overran parts of southern Israel, resulting in numerous casualties and hostages being taken. Netanyahu argues that the ground offensive is reducing civilian casualties as the population heeds calls to evacuate.
Israeli Efforts and Criticism:
Israeli forces claim to have established safe passages for civilians to leave hospitals such as Shifa, Rantisi, and al-Nasr. However, aid groups and medical workers report that they, too, find themselves trapped amidst the fighting, devoid of power and resources. Hospitals have been heavily damaged by Israeli strikes, affecting critical infrastructure, including generators, water wells, and oxygen stations.
The situation has led to the death of premature babies and severe complications for others. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres criticized Netanyahu’s assertion of obeying international laws, stating that protection of civilians is not happening.
U.S. Concerns and Call for Ceasefire:
While the Biden administration has shown support for Israel’s war effort, there is also concern over civilian casualties. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan emphasizes the need to prevent fighting in hospitals and protect sick or injured patients.
The U.S. urges Israel to reduce civilian deaths and is advocating for a cease-fire. Netanyahu remains resolved to press on with the war, emphasizing the importance of an alliance for peace involving Israel, the United States, moderate Arab states, and the civilized world. However, Arab leaders condemn Israel’s actions and call for an urgent cease-fire.
Dire Humanitarian Situation and Communication Shutdown:
The ongoing destruction, demolitions, and bombardments have severely damaged Gaza’s communication networks, resulting in partial or complete shutdowns. Displaced people in shelters have not received bottled water for over a week, exacerbating the already desperate humanitarian situation.
Aid delivery remains insufficient to meet the needs of the besieged population of over 2 million people. Hospitals in the south are overburdened and lack resources to treat the increasing number of wounded, leaving the situation in Gaza dire and seemingly hopeless.
As the Israel-Gaza conflict persists, concerns over hospitals coming under attack and the rising civilian death toll continue to mount. International pressure for a cease-fire is growing, with the United States expressing displeasure about the situation.
Hospitals in Gaza are facing severe challenges as they operate under dangerous conditions, with critical infrastructure damaged. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is worsening, with limited aid reaching the population, and communication networks facing shutdown. Efforts to alleviate the suffering and find a resolution to the conflict are urgently needed.