Palestinians ride bicycles past the ruins of houses and buildings destroyed during Israel’s military offensive in the northern Gaza Strip.—Reuters
Palestinians ride bicycles past the ruins of houses and buildings destroyed during Israel’s military offensive in the northern Gaza Strip.—Reuters

GENEVA: Israel is systematically destroying Gaza’s healthcare system, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Thursday, describing scenes of carnage that no hospitals in the world would be able to handle.

The medical charity said children were turning up in hospitals with gunshot wounds from drones, while many patients were being crushed under rubble then suffering severe burns.

The MSF said deadly attacks on humanitarian staff showed either deliberate intent or reckless incompetence. Amber Alayyan, MSF deputy programme manager for the Middle East, said the healthcare system in Gaza before Oct­ober was imperfect but robust and improving.

“Now we’re seeing the systematic and deliberate destruction of the healthcare system,” she told a press conference at MSF’s headquarters in Geneva.

Alayyan said the vast majority of injuries seen by MSF medics in Gaza were explosive injuries: the effects of bombs hitting homes.

“You get crush injuries to the abdomen, to the thorax; amputations are required for the legs and arms; and on top of that, patients suffer severe burns,” she said.

“No healthcare system in the world can cope with the volume and type of injuries, and the medical conditions, that we’re seeing on a daily basis.

“You could add 1,000 field hospitals; you’re not going to be able to replace the healthcare system that was in Gaza before the war.”

“We see gunshot wounds now in children from quadcopters — drones with guns,” she added.

The MSF said Israel was acting with impunity in the Palestinian territory, adding the UN Security Council’s call for a ceasefire needed to be backed up with action.

MSF International’s secretary general Chri­stopher Lockyear said nearly 200 humanitarian workers had been killed in Gaza, including five MSF staffers.

“This pattern of attacks is either intentional or indicative of reckless incompetence,” he told reporters in Geneva, calling it “a war fought with no rules”.

He said Israel allowing the attacks to happen was “a political choice” because “Israel faces no political cost”.

“Instead, its allies enable this brutality with impunity and provide even more weapons.”

He said all states supporting Israel were “morally and politically complicit”.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2024

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