Israel committing ‘genocide’ against health system in Gaza: Palestinian minister

Palestinian Health Minister Mai Alkaila has strongly condemned Israel for committing "genocide against the healthcare system" in the besieged Gaza Strip as Tel Aviv continues its indiscriminate strikes on the territory.

“The Israeli occupation is committing a genocide against the entire healthcare system in the Gaza Strip, including hospitals, medical doctors, and patients,” Alkaila said in a press conference at Palestinian Health Ministry’s headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

“How long hospitals, patients, and medical teams in Gaza and the West Bank would remain hostages to the onslaught, destruction, targeting, and blockade by the Israeli occupation forces without accountability or condemnation from the international community?” she asked.

The regime launched its devastating war on October 7 following an operation staged by Gaza-based resistance movements. At least 12,300 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 5,000 children, and over 29,800 people sustained injuries during the war.

The regime has turned Gaza’s hospitals into a specific target for its military onslaught, alleging that those facilities house Palestinian fighters and their equipment.

Elsewhere in her remarks, the Palestinian official noted that no hospital in Gaza has the capacity to provide services to the massive number of wounded from the incessant Israeli bombardments.

She expressed concern over the spread of numerous infectious diseases, including diarrheal diseases, affecting over 50,000 individuals, predominantly children. Respiratory infections and skin diseases such as chickenpox and scabies have also surged in Gaza, Alkaila added, citing reports from the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

The minister also called for an immediate cessation of the Israeli genocide in Gaza and the West Bank, demanding a halt to targeting, shelling, and blockade of medical and healthcare facilities.

Al-Shifa, Gaza’s biggest hospital, has taken the brunt of the Israeli assaults on the territory’s healthcare system, with the regime claiming that it houses a “command center” belonging to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Alkaila called on the international organizations to mount pressure on the Israeli regime to allow relocation of the remaining children and patients from al-Shifa to other hospitals across the West Bank or Egypt.

“Where is the stance of doctors and healthcare professionals worldwide regarding the atrocities committed against their colleagues in the Palestinian healthcare sector in Gaza and the West Bank?” Alkaila asked while addressing the global health community.

The Israeli regime has cut off the flow of basic supplies, such as water, electricity, medicines, and fuel, to Gaza, which is one of the world’s most densely populated territories housing over two million Palestinians.

The minister slammed Israel for preventing entry of medicines into the territory and depriving patients of their right to receive treatment, especially children in need of oxygen, mothers in need of safe childbirth, and kidney failure patients in need of dialysis.

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