Israel surrounds Indonesian hospital in Gaza with tanks, kills at least 12

Last week Israeli ground forces forced all the patients and health staff to evacuate from Gaza’s largest Al-Shifa hospital after killing dozens of patients and staff

November 20, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch

On the 45th day of its war on Palestinians in Gaza on Monday, November 20, Israeli ground forces attacked the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza, killing at least 12 Palestinians including doctors and patients and injuring several others.  

Israeli tanks surrounded the hospital and buildings in its vicinity on Monday morning and started shelling the area. Its shelling also targeted a nearby Kuwaiti school where hundreds of people have taken shelter since the beginning of the Israeli airstrikes.

The strike which targeted the second floor of the hospital also destroyed its main operation room. According to reports, Israeli forces also cut the electricity supply to the hospital after surrounding it. 

Images and videos circulating on social media show that the hospital is completely destroyed and health workers are now forced to treat patients on the floor with mobile torches.  

According to Wafa News Agency, at least 150 severely wounded, and 100 members of the health staff and thousands of relatives of the patients and displaced Palestinians taking shelter inside the hospital, are now trapped due to the attacks from Israel.

The head of the Orthopedics Department at the Indonesian Medical Hospital, Dr. Adnan al-Barsh was also injured in the Israeli attacks on the Indonesian hospital.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza stated that despite the Israeli attack, the medical staff has decided to stay back to provide treatment to the patients. The spokesperson of the ministry said that the ministry fears that Israeli forces “will repeat what it did to Al-Shifa Medical Complex” last week, Quds News Network reported.  

Al-Shifa, like the Indonesian hospital, was targeted several times before by the Israeli airstrikes before the ground forces attacked it. 

Due to the impact of repeated attacks on hospitals and other health infrastructure, along with no access to fuel supplies, most of the hospitals in Gaza have been forced to close. Those which are still functioning are doing so on a very limited scale. 

Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, was surrounded by Israeli forces last week. Thousands of people who were at the hospital including, patients, health care workers, and displaced people, were forcibly evicted from the premises while dozens, including new born babies, died from the hospital being forced rendered not functional or were killed by Israeli airstrikes or bullets.

Israel has been justifying its assault on hospitals by alleging that Palestinian resistance movement Hamas uses them as bases of its operations. After raiding Al-Shifa, Israeli forces published a series of videos showing their “findings”, presenting elements such as a calendar, a bathroom, a diaper, and a baby bottle as evidence to their claims. They also claimed to have found weapons and a tunnel inside the hospital, which Al-Shifa authorities have refuted and accused Israeli forces of planting elements.

Attacking hospitals and targeting health workers are war crimes according to international law. 

Israel has been bombing densely populated Gaza indiscriminately since October 7 targeting residential buildings, hospitals, shelter homes, schools, bakeries and other civilian infrastructure. 

Through bombings and ground offensives, Israel has killed over 13,000 Palestinians and injured over 30,000 of them. Most of the killed and injured are children, women, and elderly. 

Israel has also imposed a blockade on the supply of basic commodities such as fuel, food and medicines inside the besieged territory leading to a large number of hospitals shutting down their operations due to the lack of power supply and medical equipment.