Israel extends detention of Al-Shifa hospital’s director by 45 days

Al-Shifa hospital director Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya and his colleagues were arrested on November 23, a day before the ceasefire came into effect. Israeli forces had continuously targeted and raided the hospital leading to the death of patients

November 28, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya

Israel extended the detention of the director of Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya by 45 more days on Tuesday, November 28. Dr. Abu Salamiya and several other doctors and medical staff members were arrested by Israel on November 23, a day before the four-day truce came into force.

Dr. Abu Salmiya and his colleagues in Al-Shifa had refused to leave the hospital when Israeli ground forces attacked it earlier this month.

Al-Shifa is Gaza’s largest hospital. It was repeatedly targeted in the Israeli air strikes and Israeli forces raided it during their ground offensive and killed some patients, according to media reports.

Dr. Abu Salmiya faces allegations of “aiding the enemy during wartime and providing service to terror organizations,” al-Quds news network reported.

Confirming the news of Dr. Abu Salmiya’s arrest on Thursday, the Israeli occupation forces had claimed that he had been shifted to Shin Bet’s interrogation center alleging that, “under his [Dr. Abu Salamiya’s] direct management, [Al-Shifa hospital] served as a Hamas command and control centre,” The Guardian had reported.

Israel occupied many of the hospitals in northern Gaza, forcing the patients to leave the premises and making them inoperational. It has maintained that the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas had been using the hospital premises in Gaza to launch attacks.

Israel has provided no credible evidence to prove the allegations. Hamas and hospital managements have denied Israeli allegations too.

Hamas issued a statement last week condemning the arrest of Dr. Abu Salamiya and other medical staff. It asked the international community to intervene to secure their release.

Several patients and babies died due to the lack of power supply to the hospital. The remaining patients, including some newborns, were forcefully evicted.

Israel had imposed a complete blockade on the supply of fuel, medicine, and other essential commodities to the besieged Palestinian territory before the ceasefire. Even after the ceasefire came into effect, only limited aid is allowed in Gaza, leaving the majority of Palestinians without enough medical or other essential supplies.

At least 60 ambulances and 160 health facilities were targeted during the 48 days of Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza. The attacks and blockade led to the closure of 28 hospitals and 63 primary health care centers, leaving the majority of over 33,000 injured Palestinians without basic medical care, Gaza’s ministry of health confirmed on Tuesday.

Medical staff and establishments are protected as per international law even during war time and targeting them is a war crime.

Israeli airstrikes and ground offensives inside Gaza have killed close to 15,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women. Hundreds of them are still missing with over 70% of the population of Gaza displaced due to destruction of residential buildings and essential civil infrastructure.