MOH Gaza Press Release: International human shields to protect Shifa Hospital
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
Individuals from Spain, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Australia and Venezuela today began a constant protective presence at the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, in response to increasing attacks on medical facilities and personnel by the Israeli military.
One of Gaza’s hospitals has been totally destroyed, a paediatric hospital so severely damaged it is unusable, and another six have been severely damaged. Four health professionals have been killed and 14 injured. Two medical clinics and 14 ambulances have been completely destroyed, and seven other clinics have been damaged.
“Hospitals are now targets for the Israeli occupation,” said Dr Medhat Abbas, Director General of Health, “Nowhere is safe. The solidarity and support of the international volunteers is very much appreciated, and we encourage others to join them.”
One of the volunteers said that Shifa Hospital is a red line that must not be crossed.
“Israel’s ruthless onslaught against Gaza’s hospitals, clinics, and ambulances has pushed its health care sector, already struggling under siege, to the breaking point. With deaths and injuries, including those from Israeli attacks on medical facilities, rapidly mounting, al-Shifa is a red line the world cannot allow Israel to cross,” said Joe Catron, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement.
Deputy Ministry of Health Gaza Dr Yousef AbuAlrish welcomed the presence of the nine international volunteers to act as human shields at Shifa Hospital.
“Saving even one life is equivalent to saving humanity,” he said. “The work you are doing is immensely important.”
The internationals volunteers will maintain a 24-hour presence at Shifa, and constantly move between wards and departments to provide maximum protection.