Thousands Flee Gaza Hospital After Israel Orders Evacuation

Thousands of civilians have fled the Nasser Hospital Complex in southern Gaza, after Israel ordered them to evacuate the premises amid the ongoing war. The hospital, which has been under siege for weeks, is the largest health facility in the area and has been treating hundreds of wounded Palestinians. Israel says it wants to clear the hospital of Hamas fighters and weapons, but Palestinians say it is a war crime and a violation of international law.

Israel announced on Wednesday that it had opened a ‘secure route’ for the civilians who were taking shelter in the Nasser Hospital Complex to leave the area and head to the ‘humanitarian zone’ – a strip of land along the Mediterranean coast that is controlled by Israel. Israel said it did not intend to evacuate the patients and the medical staff, but only the displaced people who were not in need of medical care.

Israel said it had made the decision to evacuate the hospital after it had detected the presence of Hamas fighters and weapons inside and around the hospital. Israel said it had warned the civilians several times to leave the hospital, but they had refused to do so. Israel said it had also coordinated with the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross to ensure the safety and the dignity of the civilians.

Palestinians Accuse Israel of ‘Forcibly Evacuating’ the Hospital

Palestinians, however, accused Israel of ‘forcibly evacuating’ the hospital and endangering the lives of the patients and the medical staff. They said Israel had fired on the hospital and the surrounding area, killing and injuring several people. They said Israel had also cut off the electricity and the water supply to the hospital, and had prevented the delivery of medical supplies and humanitarian aid.

Palestinians said Israel had no right to order the evacuation of the hospital, which is a protected civilian object under international law. They said Israel had violated the Geneva Conventions and the principles of medical neutrality, which prohibit the targeting and the interference of medical facilities and personnel in times of war. They said Israel had also violated the human rights and the dignity of the civilians, who had sought refuge in the hospital from the Israeli bombardment and invasion.

The Hospital Has Been Under Siege for Weeks

The Nasser Hospital Complex, which is located in Khan Younis, has been under siege for weeks, as Israel has launched a massive ground offensive in the south of Gaza. The hospital, which has a capacity of 600 beds, has been treating hundreds of wounded Palestinians, many of them in critical condition. The hospital has also been hosting thousands of displaced people, who have fled their homes and neighborhoods due to the Israeli attacks.

The hospital has been struggling to cope with the influx of patients and the lack of resources, as Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007 and has intensified it since the start of the war in August 2023. The hospital has faced shortages of medicine, equipment, fuel, and staff, and has been operating on backup generators. The hospital has also been exposed to constant danger, as Israel has bombed and shelled the vicinity of the hospital, and has accused Hamas of using the hospital as a base and a shield.

The War in Gaza Continues with No End in Sight

The war in Gaza, which began on August 7, 2023, after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel and took 253 hostages, has continued with no end in sight, despite the efforts of the international community and the Egyptian-led mediation to broker a ceasefire and a prisoner swap. The war has killed more than 28,500 Palestinians and 100 Israelis, and has injured more than 20,000 people on both sides. The war has also devastated Gaza’s infrastructure, economy, and environment, and has displaced more than half of its population.

Israel has said it will not stop its military campaign until it has destroyed Hamas’s military capabilities and tunnels, and has secured the release of its hostages. Hamas has said it will not stop its resistance until it has secured the release of all its prisoners in Israeli jails, and has lifted the Israeli blockade on Gaza. Both sides have rejected each other’s demands as unrealistic and unacceptable.

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