Israeli army bombs hospitals in GazaCity. The situation became much worse when Tel Aviv government decided to start the land invasion.
by Giovanni Vigna
Mantova, 18th July 2014, Nena News – “El Wafa Hospital has been partly destroyed. All people who were inside the building at the moment of the Israeli massive attack, that happened on the 17th of July at 21, have been evacuated to Al Sahaba medical complex. Luckily, at the moment, there are no dead”.These are the dramatic words of Swedish volunteer, Charlie Andreasson, who was engaged with other six foreign volunteers in a protection activity of El Wafa Hospital, the patients and the staff.
On the 17th of July, during the so-called humanitarian truce, that has involved a very short cease fire, we sent Charlie an e-mail with some questions. Andreasson replied in order to prove the tragic condition of the person who was hospitalised in El Wafa, already stricken by the Israeli army some days ago, when the building was damaged but, luckily, the Israeli rockets had not injured anyone.
On the 17th of July the situation became much worse within few hours when Tel Aviv government resumed military operations and decided to start the land invasion in the Gaza Strip. Charlie and the other six international volunteers risk their life as human shields to protect the hospital, the patients and the staff from further attacks from the Israeli forces. Charlie stated: “According to the data I have, 17 patients and 17 members of the staff have been evacuated. Also two volunteers, active as human shields, have been evacuated. I’m not sure where Al Sahaba medical complex is, maybe in the northern part of GazaCity. The Israeli army is not yet in the City itself. Soldiers have entered at least six places along the border”.
According to Charlie, hotels along the beach have been evacuated and the guests have been moved to Al Deira Hotel. “At the moment Israeli gunboats are shelling GazaCity and also the Jabalya refugee camp has been bombed”, Andreasson stated.
During the shelling, in El Wafa Hospital the power went out. Charlie explained: “The hospitalised patients are in critical conditions. Several are in coma and on breath through a respirator, some are feed by a tube. This last massive attack against El Wafa Hospital constitutes a violation of the article 18 of IV Geneva Convention, which states: Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict”. But, as anyone knows, Israel doesn’t care about international laws.
According to a ISM (International Solidarity Movement) press release, on the 17th of July, at 20.40, the Israeli military contacted El Wafa Hospital in Gaza and stated: “Why don’t you care about your family? Why don’t you care about your patients?”. The receptionist replied: “Sir, you can’t bomb the hospital. We cannot move the patients”. Several minutes later, two rockets were fired at the hospital, and two more shortly after. As ISM press release explains, the fourth rocket penetrated through the concrete walls. After that, the shelling began heavily, hitting the hospital from all sides. Nurses ran through the halls screaming.
Doctor Basman Alashi, executive director of El Wafa Hospital, stated: “They are going to destroy the hospital”. Soon after the hospital lost electricity.
Alashi attacked Israeli prime minister Netanyahu: “If these patients die, I hold Netanyahu personally responsible for their souls”. According to ISM, all but four of the 17 patients were evacuated. Two of the four remaining patients were dependent on oxygen and were unable to be immediately moved. In the hospital there were also four staff members and two Spanish international activists.
At 21.45, the Israeli military contacted the Red Cross and asked them to call El Wafa to ask how much time was needed to evacuate the rest of the hospital. Alashi replied that he needed two hours to fully evacuate the hospital. ISM stated in the press release that the last shelling occurred at 22 and the last patient was evacuated at 22.45 to Al Sahaba medical complex. According to doctor Basman Alashi, “there were no physical injuries but emotionally, it is indescribable for the staff”. Nena News