New Report: Israel deliberately destroyed health sector infrastructure during its attack on Gaza

New Report: Israel deliberately destroyed health sector infrastructure during its attack on Gaza

London- The latest Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip left the health sector almost devastated, said ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies, pointing out that hospitals in Gaza had been suffering even before the attack.

In its brief report, the London-based think tank said that the healthcare system in the Gaza Strip has been fragmented and overburdened for years due to the suffocating blockade and the consecutive attacks. Thousands of patients require referrals to hospitals in the West Bank or in Jerusalem when specialised treatment is not available for them in the Gaza-Strip.

"This referral process is lengthy and often not guaranteed, even for severely ill patients," said Rasha Kaloti, a health policies researcher at ImpACT.  

About 40% of patient permit applications from the Gaza Strip were unsuccessful (denied or delayed). The dire economic situation in the Gaza Strip, coupled with Israel’s control of borders has resulted in severe shortages in essential medicines, medical equipment and disposables.3 The COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation even more difficult. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the admission of COVID-19 cases, and have a severe shortage of Intensive Care Units (ICUs).

The series of Israeli Forces airstrikes on the Gaza-Strip in May resulted in 256 Palestinian deaths, including 66 children and 40 women (of which, 5 disabled people). In addition, almost 2,000 Palestinians were injured, including over 600 children and 400 women. Many of them sustained serious injuries that could result in long-term disabilities. So far, there has been reports of 10 amputations, 35 paralysis cases and 21 admissions to ICUs. This has overwhelmed the healthcare system, as healthcare workers could not cope with the large number of injuries.

Throughout the years and with the last attacks on the Gaza Strip, Israel has deliberately attacked the healthcare system and the (physical and mental) health of innocent civilians

- Rasha Kaloti, a health policies reseacher at ImpACT 

The attacks on civilians do not only have physical effects, but also affect people’s mental health. Due to the frequent attacks on the Strip, 88.4% of children and adolescents in Gaza have witnessed trauma in their lives.

During the last series of airstrikes, the Israeli forces completely destroyed 2,300 housing and commercial units, partly damaged 22,618 housing units (many of which have become uninhabitable), as well as destructed multiple water and sanitation facilities, health facilities and 179 government schools.

The Israeli forces destroyed several neighbourhoods using a ‘carpet-bombing’ method, which intends to separate blocks from each other. Around 160 jets launched simultaneous attacks of thousands of missiles, resulting in the destruction of roads, infrastructure and public facilities. This has obstructed the ability of ambulances and emergency staff to reach the injured.

The damage to infrastructure has increased the chronic infrastructural and power deficits in the Gaza-Strip. Approximately 400,000 people do not have regular access to piped water, due to the bombing of clean water and sewage treatment facilities. This has worsened the ability to have the most basic hygiene needs, let alone practice the recommended hygiene measures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Throughout the years and with the last attacks on the Gaza Strip, Israel has deliberately attacked the healthcare system and the (physical and mental) health of innocent civilians," said Kaloti.

"It is clear that the Israeli forces is in breach of International Humanitarian Law and its obligations under the International Geneva Convention, through non-distinctive, discriminatory and disproportionate attacks on innocent civilians in the Gaza-Strip," she added.

In accordance with International Humanitarian Law, Palestinians have the right to be protected and respected. Israel must be held to account for its illegal actions and its war crimes must be properly investigated by the International Criminal Court.

 

Full Report: Here 

Related

Gaza asks: How is living under quarantine?

While most people around the world have led a free life until now, isolation is not new to Gazan Palestinians

Facebook's blocking of accounts signals failure of oversight board

Facebook seems to abandon its corporate values in countries such as these in the pursuit of further economic growth

Israeli factory repeatedly violates workers' rights in Jordan

.The management of Israeli factory Hilbash Moshe in Jordan must stop violating workers' rights, which has escalated during the coronavirus pandemic