Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Damage to medical centers and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip



Physicians for Human Rights-Israel warns that a continued military assault, particularly against civil infrastructure, will likely cause a rapid deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

Yesterday evening (19.11.12), Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-Israel) called on Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, to immediately cease attacks on civil infrastructure in Gaza, whether direct or indirect, and to ensure the safety of medical centers and personnel. PHR-Israel also called on Israeli authorities to enable safe access for infrastructure repair.

Since the beginning of the most recent round of violence, PHR-Israel has received numerous reports documenting a pattern of damage to civil infrastructure throughout the Gaza Strip.
Several worrisome sentiments have been expressed over the past few days by Israeli government officials, including a one by the Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai, who cited the goals of the current military operation as “Returning Gaza to the middle ages,” and called outright for the destruction of water and electric infrastructure, roads, transportation arteries, communication systems and more. Such sentiments raise serious concern that Israeli decision makers intend to harm civilian infrastructure in Gaza, which would likely lead to a humanitarian disaster.

The past few days have seen numerous instances of harm to Gaza’s health infrastructure. PHR-Israel emphasizes that the defense of civilians and injured persons during wartime, as well as the obligation to enable the injured to receive medical treatment and to prevent their further injury within medical facilities, all constitute basic principles of international humanitarian law. Damage to hospitals caused by nearby shelling or aerial attacks endangers the lives of patients and medical staff, violates rules of medical neutrality, and blatantly disregards the special protection status guaranteed to medical personnel in light of their essential life-saving role. Destruction of this sort creates a highly insecure environment for patients for the duration of their medical care. PHR-Israel is deeply concerned that if such damages to health infrastructure continue, medical staff will be seriously impaired in their ability to provide adequate medical care and life-saving treatment.

PHR-Israel stresses that destruction or harm to civilian infrastructure will likely cause a rapid deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza. This concern is magnified due to the weakened state of Gaza’s infrastructure even before the current military action, and the already dire state of Gaza’s health system, which suffers from chronic shortages in medical equipment and drugs due to Israel’s ongoing blockade.

The following reports received by PHR-Israel as of 19.11.12 summarize damage to infrastructure thus far:

Damage to Medical Centers and Medical Personnel:

●     A hospital in Khan Younis sustained damage due a nearby shelling. Shrapnel entered the hospital. The damage has impaired the functioning of the hospital, which is currently unable to provide full treatment to its patients.

●     An UNWRA medical center in Jabalya was damaged in an aerial attack.

●     Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City sustained damage due to a nearby shelling.

●     In northern Gaza, the local clinic in the Tawam neighborhood sustained damage. Two nearby ambulances were also damaged.

●     A Red Crescent emergency center in Tel-Elhawa in northern Gaza sustained damage.

●     Three ambulances from the Gaza City Ministry of Health’s Emergency Rescue Center, close to the Palestine Stadium, sustained damage.

●     Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) clinic in the village of Abu Taima in Khan Younis sustained damaged. As in the entire village, the clinic has no electricity or water, and due to damage to communication infrastructure, has no access to internet or telephone lines. The clinic is relying on fuel supplies that will last only 2-3 days.

According to reports gathered from OCHA UN agency and from field workers, there are also signs of damage to electricity and water infrastructure and schools;

●     Damage to two water systems, a well, and two water reservoirs.

●     Another water network, which serves 20,000 people in the Nassar area of Rafiah, sustained damage on 18.11.12.

●     Two power stations in the Jabalya area were damaged by shelling. Planned power outages are taking place every day for 8-12 hours.

●     During the hours when there is no electricity, hospitals must rely on generators, but fuel supplies are dwindling, and are expected to run out in only a few days.

●     The village of Abu Taima in  Khan Younis, home to 4,000 residents, has been without water, electricity, and communication since 11:00 am on 18.11.12, following damage to its infrastructure.

●     According to reports, approximately 25 schools, including three UNWRA schools, have sustained various degrees of damage,

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6 Responses

  1. American
    November 20, 2012, 8:38 pm

    On the news…..they are also bombing government, banks , buildings everything.
    On CNN ……reporter following a Gaza family who fled their building because Israel is dropping leaflets telling them to get out…..they finally hid out in a abandoned school, probably aren’t safe there either, Israel has bombed schools before. Where do you go when there is no where to go? They are all hemmed in because of the blockade, no one can get out of the way
    Israelis on TV, spinning, spinning….Hamas is just a gang, Hamas doesn’t care about Gazans, Hamas is doing this to Gaza. Yea, yea, it’s a.l.w.a.y.s someone else who is guilty.

  2. yourstruly
    November 20, 2012, 8:46 pm

    the zionist entity obviously subscribes to mao tse tung’s maxim that “the peaceful population is the sea in which the guerrilla {resister} swims like a fish.”

  3. foresomenteneikona
    November 20, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Could Mondoweiss please post a link to the original PHR statement (even if in Hebrew)?

  4. yourstruly
    November 20, 2012, 10:58 pm

    fascist entities bombing hospitals and infrastructure

    by whom, when and where?

    surely not by uncle sam nor any other of his so-called allies

    red, white & blue

    home of the brave & the free

    god bless america

    with the following being only its most recent & “serious” acts of terrorizing the entire human race

    since the late 19th century only

    the phillipines
    the american-mexican war
    haiti (multiple times)
    several, 1 in particular with uncle same terrorizing cubans for over a half-century now
    vietnam, laos & cambodia
    iran last century, twice & considering another go at it
    nicaragua, el salvador, guatamala, belize, costa rica
    panama, blasted (especially the black areas)
    others, too, but on the government’s list of nations yet to be “liberated”
    iran asap, but with venezuela next up for grabs.
    then there’s palestine
    gaza and the warsaw ghetto
    same place
    different time
    while the world stands by

    & uncle sam?
    out of control
    sick from his power seeking
    it’s an addiction
    the cure

    *no longer slow motion

  5. DICKERSON3870
    November 21, 2012, 10:01 pm

    ● RE: “Physicians for Human Rights-Israel warns that a continued military assault, particularly against civil infrastructure, will likely cause a rapid deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza.”

    ♦ “So?” says Dick Cheney [VIDEO, 00:51] –

    DONALD RUMSFELD SEZ: “Stuff happens and it’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.”
    ♦ “Stuff Happens!” – Rumsfeld on looting after fall of Baghdad [VIDEO, 00:27] –

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