“We are in the Al Awda hospital in the north, under siege for four days, no one can move from this building, neither enter nor leave,” Mohammed Salha, a volunteer in Gaza, tells elDiario.es from Gaza, on the other end of the phone. the medical center and collaborator of the Catalan NGO Creat.
“There is a sniper. Yesterday he killed a fellow nurse when he approached a window. Two or three days before he had shot another colleague’s son when he was entering the hospital, but we were able to save his life. On the first day of the siege, the sniper killed a woman who came with her pregnant sister-in-law to give birth in the maternity services. “Her body is still lying in the street, no one can pick it up,” he continues.
According to several people present, there are about two hundred and fifty people in the building: ninety-eight health workers, forty-three patients and more than a hundred refugees. They estimate that they have food for four more days – “we only eat once a day” – water for two days and fuel for four days “but no one can move there to fill it, unless we devise a strategy without risking our lives. “It is a total siege,” they say.
On the first day of the siege, the sniper killed a woman who came to the maternity ward, her body is still lying in the street
People trapped in the hospital fear a major attack or the takeover of the medical center: “There are no negotiations, it is difficult to have Internet, and dangerous, because we have to go to the upper floors to access the connection. We write down here and we only go up to send the messages,” they say in conversation with elDiario.es.
“I can’t describe my feelings and those of the patients, this is horrible,” adds Mohammed, with the sound of bombings in the background.
From Belgium, the Palestinian Tamam Abusalama has denounced that another of the people trapped in Al Awda is the wife of her uncle, “one of the Palestinian workers who was tortured and abused before being moved to the Palestinian-Israeli border. She is at Al Awda hospital, where she works. She is surrounded by it and there is no chance to reach it. We are especially concerned because she was injured a few weeks ago. We hope she can see my uncle again.”
Al Awda has a maternity service and a special surgery and orthopedics team and is located in the Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern part of the Strip, where the Al Awda mosque was hit by an Israeli attack on Friday. . The medical center itself has received several attacks, one of them in November, in which three doctors from Doctors Without Borders died: Mahmoud Abu Nujaila, Ahmad Al Sahar and Ziad Al-Tatari, as reported by the NGO.
Shortly before he died, Dr. Abu Nujaila wrote on a hospital blackboard a phrase that Doctors Without Borders has adopted in its public request for an immediate ceasefire: “We did what we could. Remember us.”
Dying or forced displacement to Egypt
The Israeli army has intensified its attacks in the south and continues to corner the Palestinian population in an increasingly reduced space, with orders for forced displacement further south, already very close to the Rafah border with Egypt. The high commissioner of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, has warned in a letter sent to the General Assembly that UNRWA is at the edge of its capabilities, in an “unsustainable” situation:
“In my 35 years of working in complex emergencies, I never expected to have to write a letter like this, predicting the slaughter of my team.” [hay ya 130 trabajadores muertos] and the collapse of the mandate he is expected to fulfill (…) Our staff is still trying to help traumatized families, some of whom arrive carrying their dead children.”
Lazzarini warns that “without help and without safe shelter, civilians in Gaza risk dying or will be forced to travel to Egypt and beyond (…). Forced displacement beyond Palestinian lands, reminiscent of the Nakba of 1948, must be prevented.”
Without help and safe shelter, civilians in Gaza risk death or will be forced to travel to Egypt and beyond
“The eyes of the world and history are watching”
This Friday from the United Nations headquarters in New York, after invoking Article 99 of the UN Charter the day before, Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire and warned that “the eyes of the world – and the eyes of history – are watching. It is time to act”. Guterres has indicated that more than 17,000 Palestinians have already died in Gaza, including more than 4,000 women and 7,000 children.
Despite this, the US has vetoed the UN resolution for a ceasefire at the end of the day, in a historic gesture representative of current power dynamics. Washington has been left alone in the UN Security Council vote, with thirteen votes in favor of the ceasefire, one abstention – the United Kingdom – and a single vote against, its own, but with veto power and, therefore, therefore, determining. He has already used that same veto power on other occasions since the beginning of the massacre in Gaza.
“There are also tens of thousands injured and missing under the rubble. 339 educational centers and 26 hospitals have been attacked, 56 medical facilities, 88 mosques and 3 churches. 60% of homes damaged or destroyed. 85% of the population has been forced to move. The people of Gaza are being asked to move like balls of pinball humans, bouncing between increasingly smaller areas of the south, without any of the basic elements for survival. No one is safe in Gaza,” Guterres concluded, in vain.
US: “We do not support an immediate ceasefire”
In his speech during the Security Council meeting, the Israeli ambassador to the UN stated that “it is always easier to put pressure on law-abiding democracy than on terrorists who do not even recognize the existence of international law.” Twenty-four hours earlier, Israel had accused Guterres of being a “danger to world peace” for having called for a ceasefire and invoking Article 99.
The United States ambassador to the United Nations has pointed out the need for Israel to comply with international humanitarian law, but at the same time has indicated that “we do not support calls for an immediate ceasefire, this would only plant the seeds for a next war. He added that ”Hamas continues to present a threat to Israel; (…) a threat that none of our governments would allow on our own borders.”
Israel is the recipient of the largest annual US military aid, at more than $3 billion a year. Added to this is now a large amount of military equipment – bombs, artillery shells and other weapons – delivered by Washington since the start of the bombings against Gaza. These shipments have caused internal protests in the US State Department and the resignation of a senior official, Josh Paul, who has denounced the lack of scrutiny and conditions for these arms shipments.
For his part, in the debate prior to the vote this Friday in the United Nations Security Council, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN lamented: “I keep reading in the media that Israel does not have clear war objectives. Are we supposed to pretend we don’t know that the goal is the ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip? The dispossession and forced displacement of the Palestinian people when so many Israeli representatives could not help but admit it? And he added: “The shame does not fall on those who ask for a ceasefire in the face of such atrocities, but on those who refuse to do so.”