Gaza hospital struck by missiles; int’l volunteers gather to protect it

Israel/Palestine
on 15 Comments
El Wafa Hospital, struck by missile (Photo: Manu Pineda)

El Wafa Hospital, struck by missile

International volunteers in Gaza say the IDF has fired five ‘warning’ missiles at el-Wafa geriatric hospital in Gaza City, Gaza. The hospital, which serves as a rehabilitation center for people above the age of 60 – including, in the past, for some victims of Israel’s attacks – currently serves 39 patients over 60-years-old, 14 of which require urgent care.

According to international volunteers at the hospital, the first missiles hit the fourth floor of the hospital around 2 AM. At approximately 7 PM, a fifth missile hit the hospital. “Windows and doors were blown out, broken glass everywhere, damage to the stairs, there’s a big hole at the impact area and the wall is burnt,“ said Joe Catron, a volunteer from the USA.

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Basman Alashi, executive director of el-Wafa Hospital in eastern Gaza City, holds part of an Israeli projectile that struck the hospital’s fourth floor Friday evening, demolishing a wall and damaging doors and windows. (Photo by Charlie Andreasson)

Approximately an hour later, Basman Alashi, executive director of the hospital, received a phone call from someone speaking in Arabic with a clearly Israeli accent, asking if there were injuries, whether there was anyone on the top floor, and whether they were planning to evacuate the hospital. According to Alashi, that would not be possible. “El-Wafa hospital serves the patients that need medical attention 24 hours a day, including patients that can’t move, or people who need to be fed by tube,” he said to the ISM. “This hospital is the only one in Gaza specializing in the rehabilitation of people who need physical and occupational therapy. All our patients are over 60 years old, men and women. We don’t understand why the Israeli forces have fired five rockets at the hospital in the last 24 hours so far. We serve humanity,” he added. The IDF did not respond to calls for justification of the attack.

Eight international volunteers, from the US, Spain, Sweden, Venezuela, France, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, have maintained a presence in the hospital, in the hopes of preventing further missile attacks. As of this writing, there have been no more attacks on the hospital and no serious injuries. The volunteers, however, continue to take shifts, forming a protective shield for the patients. (Amira Hass has written a brief item about the matter here.)

Al Wafa hospital damage

Al Wafa hospital damage

The international activists at el-Wafa are among many volunteers who have put their bodies on the line during Israeli attacks, including some who have given their lives. Two ISM activists have been killed in Gaza by Israeli security forces acting as protective shields for Palestinian civilians during military incursions; a third, Vittorio Arrigoni, was murdered by Qaeda-affiliated Palestinians in 2011. Tom Hurndall, a UK citizen, was killed by an Israeli sergeant in 2003, who was subsequently charged with manslaughter by an Israeli military court. In 2003, Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while defending against demolitions in Rafah. On May 21 of this year, the Israeli Supreme Court heard arguments to overturn a lower court decision absolving the Israeli military of responsibility ; a decision is expected within the next year.

(I called the IDF spokesperson about the attacks earlier last night; she said she’d get back to me, but had not as of publication).   

 

About Brandon Davis

Brandon Davis is a rising senior at Princeton University, currently living in Bethlehem.

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15 Responses

  1. Kay24
    July 12, 2014, 8:22 am

    Just when you think the murderers cannot get lower, they do. Bombing a hospital, will definitely be a war crime. I hope the all these brave international volunteers are recording it all. I guess the zionists are trying to emulate Assad. There are no limits to their violence, anything to cripple these already suffering people, who live under an occupation, and have nothing to fight back. This is going to result in more hatred and anger from the Palestinian side, and the children who have seen this brutality, will grow up with resentment for those who killed their families and bombed their homes into pieces.

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    July 12, 2014, 8:34 am

    Bombing a hospital with patients inside is a war crime. No ifs, buts or maybes.

    And the Israelis aren’t even pretending this was a ‘stray missile’. No, they are freely admitting that the bombing was not only deliberate, but planned in advance.

    This is what happens when an army has absolute impunity. This is what happens when an entire society has been brainwashed into thinking that every Arab man, woman and child is a Jew killer just waiting for a chance. This is what happens when the great and good of the ‘international community’ – including the Arab world – give their full support to crimes against humanity.

    This is the ugliness and moral sickness of Zionism, in full view.

  3. iResistDe4iAm
    July 12, 2014, 9:14 am

    IMAGINE if a hospital in an earthquake zone suffered damage from 5 tremors (resulting in windows and doors blown out, broken glass everywhere, damage to the stairs, a big hole and burnt walls), with the staff and international volunteers in a panic fearing a more severe quake.

    Now IMAGINE that the hospital was not damaged by unpredictable earthquake activity, but by state-of-the-art guided missiles deliberately fired by a foreign military power.

    Now back to reality — in a world beset by many natural disasters, Palestine is the world’s longest (66 years) Israeli-made UNNATURAL disaster.

  4. concernedhuman
    July 12, 2014, 1:08 pm

    FIVE warning missiles ?
    And a phone call asking if they are evacuating?
    And then they dont drop any bomb?

    Since when has israel become so kind to human beings?
    There are international volunteers, they have access to the building do they see any hamas activity there ?Is it a launch pad for missiles or storage?NO

    This clearly was a Propaganda stunt to show to what extent israel is going to secure civilian lives . Which clearly is not the case in general where after the warning missile with in seconds a real missile is dropped.

    Amnesty International UN should ask for proof, why did israel consider this hospital a target?

  5. Donald
    July 12, 2014, 2:39 pm

    “Approximately an hour later, Basman Alashi, executive director of the hospital, received a phone call from someone speaking in Arabic with a clearly Israeli accent, asking if there were injuries, whether there was anyone on the top floor, and whether they were planning to evacuate the hospital. ”

    What a weird mentality. They provoke Hamas and elicit the rockets that give them the excuse to bomb Gaza, predictably killing many civilians, but they have to act out alleged humanitarian impulses for the benefit of their fan club in the West. It leads to Kafkaesque situations where an anonymous Israeli calls the hospital that it bombed.

  6. jon s
    July 12, 2014, 5:35 pm

    I understand that this is not the same hospital where th Hamas terrorists placed their hq in the basement during Pillar of Fire.

    • Shingo
      July 13, 2014, 12:36 am

      I understand that this is not the same hospital where th Hamas terrorists placed their hq in the basement during Pillar of Fire.

      I understand you feel the need to chime in with your Israeli lies and propaganda, but that is false.

      • jon s
        July 14, 2014, 4:05 am

        If I’m not mistaken , it was in the basement of Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The IDF knew about it, but considering the international outrage an attack would cause , decided to let it go. They may be repeating the same trick now.
        This is consistent with using mosques as warehouses for rockets and using schools , mosques and residential areas as launching sites.
        Hamas is also ordering civilians not to heed IDF warnings, in effect ordering them to die.
        All in all , the Hamas terrorists are doing their best to murder Israeli civilians, and also to cause as many civilian casualties among their own people as possible.

      • Shingo
        July 14, 2014, 7:09 am

        If I’m not mistaken , it was in the basement of Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The IDF knew about it, but considering the international outrage an attack would cause , decided to let it go

        Yes you are mistaken.

        1. There is zero evidence to support the allegation other than lies from the IDF lie factory.
        2. Israel has never given a crap about international outrage

        This is consistent with using mosques as warehouses for rockets and using schools , mosques and residential areas as launching sites.

        No, it’s consistent with the fact that the same old BS is repeated by Israel every time they want to bomb Gaza. Every one of Israel’s claims are refuted or debunked by human rights groups in Gaza at the time.

        Hamas is also ordering civilians not to heed IDF warnings, in effect ordering them to die.

        Israel is the one doing the killing. Civilians don’t take their orders from Hamas.

        All in all , the IDF terrorists are murdering Palestinian civilians. Sick and sadistic people and you are cheering them on.

    • Citizen
      July 13, 2014, 9:56 am

      @ jon s
      No. It’s the school wall upon which the Jewish American student painted swastikas, and yelled anti-semitism, the same wall that, unknown to her, had been equipped with a video camera.

  7. jon s
    July 14, 2014, 4:22 am

    Check out the two segments featuring Lucy Aharish, a Palestinian-Israeli tv personality:

    link to thepost.co.il

    • Shingo
      July 14, 2014, 7:11 am

      Check out the two segments featuring Lucy Aharish, a Palestinian-Israeli tv personality:

      Check out this report from Amira Hass.

      Gaza civilians waiting ‘for the slaughterhouse’
      link to haaretz.com

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