Israel-Palestine war: Israel’s intense bombardment continues with al-Shifa hospital a ‘bloodbath’

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Israeli strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza killed at least 90 Palestinians on Sunday, with another 12 dying in bombings in the central city of Deir al-Balah
A child injured following Israeli bombardment grimaces as he receives medical care at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, on 17 December 2023 (AFP)

Israel’s intense bombing of the Gaza Strip continued on Sunday, day 72 of the conflict, as a World Heath Organisation team visited Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital and described it as a “bloodbath”.

Elsewhere, Israeli strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza killed at least 90 Palestinians on Sunday, according to Gaza’s health ministry spokesman, and another 12 had died in bombings in the central city of Deir al-Balah, as fighting was reported in several parts of Gaza.

Al-Shifa hospital was overwhelmed with patients, WHO said in a statement. Trauma patients were being treated on the floor due to the lack of space, and pain management options were limited.

“The emergency department is so crowded that health workers must exercise caution not to step on patients on the floor. Critical patients are being transferred to al-Ahli Arab Hospital for necessary surgeries,” the statement said.

In a tweet posted on Sunday morning, WHO said: “Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital devastated by Israeli bombardments is a ‘bloodbath’: WHO team. Hundreds of injured patients inside, and new patients arriving every minute.”

Dr Rana Hajjeh, from the WHO’s Cairo office, told Al Jazeera that a UN team had reached the facility to deliver basic medical supplies.

“What they saw was a complete horror scene. The injured patients are all over the floor, they are being sutured on the floor. There are not enough beds or stretchers. There isn’t any pain medication. They’re basically just bleeding on the floor.”

Mass graves

Also on Sunday, a new mass grave was discovered in Gaza, according to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

The makeshift graveyard was found near the Fahmi al-Jarjawi School in Gaza, according to Ramy Abdu, the Euro-Med chairman. It contained the remains of dozens of civilians as options to bury the dead become increasingly limited in Gaza as a result of Israeli bombardment and the space in official graveyards runs out.

So far at least 122 mass graves had been found added Abdu.

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Meanwhile, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesperson for President Mahmoud Abbas, strongly condemned the ongoing assault by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right extremist government on a future Palestinian state.

Rudeineh said Netanyahu was now boasting about preventing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa on Sunday.

‘I’m proud that I prevented the establishment of a Palestinian state’

– Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister 

Netanyahu’s actions “align with the frenzied campaign led by certain western media outlets to undermine the Palestinian national project, led by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people,” added Rudeineh.

On Saturday, Netanyahu had said at a press conference in Israel that it was true that he had spent the last 30 years working to prevent a Palestinian state.

“I’m proud that I prevented the establishment of a Palestinian state because today everybody understands what that Palestine state could have been, now that we’ve seen the little Palestinian state in Gaza,” said Netanyahu.

In a separate interview, Netanyahu’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, said that “Israel needs to ensure as quickly as possible that there is nobody to talk to on the other side”, in response to a question from Israeli public broadcaster Kan.

“That’s the goal: to destroy Hamas, so that there won’t be anyone to talk to on the other side,” he said.

‘Defenceless civilians’

Also on Sunday, Pope Francis condemned the death of two women in a Catholic parish in Gaza on Saturday, where he said “defenceless civilians” were targeted by shootings and bombings.

“I continue to receive very serious and painful news from Gaza,” he said at the end of the Angelus prayer. “A mother and her daughter… were killed and other people injured by sniper fire.”

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“This happened even inside the parish of the Holy Family where there are no terrorists, but families, children, sick or disabled people,” the pope stressed.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said on Saturday that a Christian mother and daughter were fatally shot by an Israeli soldier on the grounds of the Gaza Strip’s only Catholic church.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Authority said on Sunday that female Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip, particularly those arrested since 7 October, were facing inhumane conditions in Israeli jails.

According to the authority’s lawyers, incarcerated Palestinian women from Gaza were enduring torture and abuse from the first moment of arrest, including beatings, insults, strip searches, solitary confinement and deprivation of basic rights, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

All female prisoners from Gaza underwent degrading treatment, it added.

‘Abandoned and murdered’

US Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC News on Sunday that “Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries cannot normalise with Israel if they’re seen as throwing the Palestinians under the bus”.

“We have two choices: continue the death spiral, or use 7 October as a catalyst for change,” said Graham who is a Republican and has significant influence over US foreign policy.

‘If we don’t get this right this time, we’re talking about another generation of just tit-for-tat death’

– US Senator Lindsey Graham

“I think the Arabs are going to demand some form of two-state solution to recognise Israel. I think Israel’s going to demand security buffers different than before, and they need to make those demands.

“I don’t know how this ends, but I’ll tell you this. If we don’t get this right this time, we’re talking about another generation of just tit-for-tat death,” added Graham.

Meanwhile, the brother of one of the Israeli hostages mistakenly killed by soldiers in the Gaza Strip this week slammed the army for having “abandoned and murdered” him.

Alon Shamriz, 26, was one of the three Israeli hostages shot dead by soldiers during an operation in the Gaza City suburb of Shejaiya, even as they carried a white flag and cried for help in Hebrew.

Shamriz, Yotam Haim and Samer El-Talalqa were killed when troops mistook them for a threat and opened fire, the army said.

“Those who abandoned you also murdered you after all that you did right,” Ido, brother of Shamriz said at the funeral in kibbutz Shefayim, north of Tel Aviv, attended by dozens of relatives and family members.

“You survived 70 days in hell,” Shamriz’s mother, Dikla, said in her eulogy. “Another moment and you would have been in my arms.”

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Disclaimer: Israel-Palestine war: Israel's intense bombardment continues with al-Shifa hospital a 'bloodbath' - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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