Staff workers disinfect temporary shelters in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on Nov 12, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]
This is an editorial from China Daily.
The attacks on and in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital, Al-Rantissi Naser Paediatric Hospital, Al-Quds Hospital, and other major medical facilities in Gaza City and northern Gaza, that have killed many, including children, over the past few days have horrified the world.
Premature and newborn babies on life support are reportedly dying due to power, oxygen, and water cuts at Al-Shifa Hospital, while others are at risk. Staff across a number of hospitals are reporting a lack of fuel, water and basic medical supplies, putting the lives of all patients at immediate risk, a United Nations report said.
With the intense hostilities preventing safe access for health staff, the injured, and other patients to major hospitals in northern Gaza, the joint calls of the regional directors of United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF and World Health Organization on Sunday for the world to give greater attention to the worsening humanitarian crisis in northern Gaza should not fall on deaf ears.
As around 100 Palestinian children are killed each day in the region, some Western countries that proclaim themselves to be champions of human rights are engulfed by large-scale protests against their government's complicity in prolonging the hostilities. These governments should waste no more time and help to broker a cease-fire as soon as possible by making full use of their influence on Tel Aviv.
Since the conflict broke out on Oct 7, the WHO has recorded at least 137 attacks on healthcare agencies in Gaza, resulting in 521 deaths and 686 injuries, including 16 deaths and 38 injuries of health workers on duty.
So far, more than half of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip are closed. Those still functioning are under massive strain and can only provide very limited emergency services, lifesaving surgery and intensive care services. Shortages of water, food, and fuel are also threatening the well-being of thousands of displaced people, including women and children, who are sheltering in hospitals and their surrounds.
Whatever the Israeli side's excuse, it should know that attacks on medical facilities and civilians are unacceptable and are a violation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law and Conventions. These moves cannot be condoned under whatever circumstances and the right to seek medical assistance, especially in times of crisis, should never be denied.
Unimpeded, safe and sustained access is needed now to provide fuel, medical supplies and water for these lifesaving services. Those supporting Israel's military actions should not stand silent. They should put aside all geopolitical considerations and their double standard, as decisive concerted action is imperative to secure an immediate cease-fire to preserve what's left of the healthcare system in Gaza.
A cease-fire is by no means a diplomatic statement. It is the only hope for the people of Gaza to survive, and a test of the world's conscience.