The World Health Organization reported on Sunday that the largest hospital in Gaza is no longer functioning, calling the situation “dire and perilous.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), posted on social media on Sunday that the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza has been “without electricity, without water and with very poor internet” for three days.
Ghebreyesus reported that WHO officials were in contact with healthcare workers at the hospital, who claimed constant gunfire and bombings were exacerbating the situation.
“Tragically, the number of patient fatalities has increased significantly,” he added.
“Regrettably, the hospital is not functioning as a hospital anymore.”
Israel has previously accused Hamas of using civilians in buildings like schools and hospitals as “human shields.” An Israeli military spokesperson claimed the terrorist organization had set up a command center at the Al-Shifa hospital, per NBC 5 DFW.
The accusation is significant since international law prevents hospitals from being targeted by countries during a time of war unless the attacker can meet a high burden of proof in demonstrating that the hospital was being used for other purposes.
Even if this is proven, the attacking country must provide ample time for evacuations before acting on the hospital.
President Joe Biden said on Monday that the hospital “must be protected,” adding that it was his “hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action,” according to NBC 5.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, “There is more that can and should be done to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians.”
While Blinken reiterated his support for Israel and the right for the country to defend itself, he said “[f]ar too many Palestinians have been killed” and that the United States will do as much as possible to “prevent harm to them and to maximize the assistance that gets to them.”
Ilze Brands Kehris, UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, said last week that 10,022 people have been killed in Gaza since the initial terrorist attack by Hamas, according to a UN press release.
The high number of civilian casualties has led some of Israel’s international partners to call for a ceasefire, which Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen acknowledged during a press briefing on Monday.
“From a political point of view, we recognize that pressure has begun on Israel,” he said, per NBC 5. “The pressure is not very high, but it is on the rise. There are also those who are asking, not publicly, for a ceasefire.”
Although there has been no indication that a full ceasefire is coming, the two sides have agreed to pause attacks for four hours a day, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.