Academics highlight ‘genocidal intent’ in collapse of healthcare system in Gaza

A group of prominent academics and healthcare professionals have pointed out how the collapse of the hospital healthcare system in the Gaza Strip has “reinforced” Israel’s “genocidal intent”. In their detailed letter to the editor published in the Journal of Public Health and Emergency on 25 March, and with statistics updated as at 2 April, academics from universities including the University of Genoa, Harvard University, Boston University School of Medicine and King’s College, University of London, also pointed out the international “duty to protect the people of Gaza.”

Despite the heavy burden placed on medical personnel who opted to resist evacuation orders issued by the Israel occupation forces, they explained, their “resilience” has saved “many” patients. “Many suggest [that] these clinicians should receive the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Chronically ill patients, including “1,200 dialysis patients” — of which 45 were children — have been unable to receive care. “Their fate is unknown.” Moreover, due to the attacks on hospitals and destruction of their facilities, “It is thought that the majority of approximately 1,500 [the figure may be much higher] fragile neonates born [between October and January] … have likely died, unregistered…”

The authors of the article note that while the situation in the Gaza Strip “could be called a perfect storm, it is more aptly named by UN agencies and experts a perfect crime.” The disaster, they add, is man-made. “A cascade of measures that is leading to the injury and death of a large part of the civilian population, from the north to the south of Gaza.”

Such attacks on healthcare facilities committed by the Israel occupation forces are, they added, “both forbidden according to international humanitarian law and the laws of war.” They amount to “collective punishment” of the “entire [Palestinian] civilian population” in the Gaza Strip.

In conclusion, the authors referred to the refusal by the Israeli government to accept an international investigation as requested by the local Ministry of Health and by independent NGOs and UN bodies. “The rapid destruction by Israeli forces of the alleged ‘proof’ that Hamas and militant factions were operating within or adjacent to hospitals, leaves as the only proof that [which is] provided by the self-produced Israel Defence Forces (IDF) videos and erases the opportunity to test the validity of Israeli claims.”

The authors ended by calling, “together with 153 countries in the General Assembly at the UN, all UN health and humanitarian agencies, health workers’ networks, and many millions in the streets, for the only solution: ‘immediate unconditional ceasefire now’, ‘stop the blockade of Gaza’, ‘immediate restoration of the healthcare system’, according to international laws and signed agreements.” They also called for accountability and the payment by Israel of the cost of repairing the damage for which it is responsible.

(Source: MEMO)