Gaza death toll mounts as healthcare collapses under Israeli siege

The incessant and indiscriminate airstrikes over the weekend resulted in two of the biggest hospitals in Gaza, the Al-Shifa and the Al-Quds, ceasing operations

November 13, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo: Wafa News Agency

The death toll in Gaza crossed 11,200 on the 38th consecutive day of the Israeli assault. According to latest reports, among the more than 11,200 Palestinians killed so far, over 4,600 were children and 3,100 women. Additionally, the number of wounded has risen to over 28,000, with casualties expected to rise in the coming days with no indication of Israel agreeing to a ceasefire.

The incessant Israeli airstrikes along with the ground invasion have rendered the two biggest hospitals in Gaza, the Al-Shifa and the Al-Quds hospitals, non-operational. Both the hospitals are facing an acute shortage of medicines as well as a lack of fuel for electricity supply.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for an immediate ceasefire without delay, with the director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warning of a “dire and perilous” situation in which dozens of patients, including infants and premature babies are dying. 

Dozens of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff have also been killed due to the relentless Israeli bombings. Three nurses were reportedly killed at the Al-Shifa hospital on Sunday. Israeli bombings have targeted and forced the closure of numerous hospitals in the past few days and weeks, resulting in just half the hospitals in Gaza functioning over the weekend. 

The bombings and ground attacks in and around hospitals have continued despite thousands of Palestinian civilians taking refuge in these hospitals as well as the hundreds of patients, doctors, nurses and other medical staff already sheltered inside these hospitals. 

Israel continues to dismiss repeated and growing global appeals for a ceasefire to avert further death and destruction. Close to 3,000 Palestinians are currently also reported missing, and are feared to be trapped or buried under the rubble of the hundreds of buildings that have been destroyed in the Israeli airstrikes.

Furthermore, Israeli military raids and violence in the occupied West Bank also intensified over the weekend, with reports noting that three more Palestinians were killed in raids in the towns of Arraba and Jenin in the northern West Bank on Sunday. The death toll in the occupied territories is estimated to be 185 since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza on October 7.

Dozens of Palestinians have also been arrested in these illegal Israeli raids across the occupied West Bank, with the Israeli occupation forces also causing extensive damage to civilian infrastructure such as roads, power transformers and other infrastructure.

Severe restrictions have also been imposed on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, resulting in growing anger and frustration among Palestinians, leading to clashes with the occupation forces.

Meanwhile, over the weekend on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, Hezbollah has escalated its attacks on Israel by firing several rockets and anti-tank missiles towards Israeli military positions.

Israel in return launched retaliatory airstrikes on a number of towns in Southern Lebanon. Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, similar Israeli airstrikes over the last month have killed at least 90 Lebanese civilians and Hezbollah fighters.