‘Stop bombing Gaza hospitals!’ Filipino health groups tell Israel

Filipino health professionals and organizations called for an immediate stop to attacks on hospitals and civilians in Gaza as the Israeli siege of Palestinian territory enters its sixth week.

Fifty six doctors, nurses, other health workers and students in a petition said hospitals and other health facilities in the besieged territory must be spared from further attacks by Israeli military forces that started last October 7.

Officers and members of the Health Alliance for Democracy, Health Action for Human Rights, Council for Health and Development, Alliance of Health Workers, Community Medical Practitioners and Advocates Association, Filipino Nurses United, Philippine Medical Students Association (PMSA) and the Philippine Nursing Students Association called on Israel to uphold International Humanitarian Law that excludes hospitals from the list of military targets.

The petition was also signed by employees unions and associations of the National Children’s Hospital, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippine General Hospital, Tondo Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center and Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center as well as the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center chapter of the PMSA.

“We denounce the November 15 raid of Israeli Defense Force in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Thousands were affected, vulnerable patients trapped, staff and other civilians displaced as they run out of medical supplies and fuel,” the petitioners said.

The petitioners also said they strongly condemn the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital bombing on October 17 that killed around 500 people and injured thousands more.

The groups, citing United Nations (UN) reports, said hospitals in North Gaza suffer heavy strikes and forcing almost all health facilities in the area to cease operations.

Some 1,000 kidney failure patients as well as 2,000 cancer patients and 130 premature babies in incubators are at immediate risk of death due to the collapse of the health care system, the groups cited.

Israel also repeatedly issued evacuation orders to hospitals and other medical facilities in Gaza, which the World Health Organization said is a “death sentence to the sick and injured.”

“We grieve for the more than 11,078 people killed, more than 4,600 of whom are children. We sympathize with the 27,490 people injured, and 1.6 million internally displaced. During the first month of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, over 300 Gazans died each day, bringing the death toll to more than 12,000,” the petition further said.

The petitioners also said they salute the doctors, nurses and other health and humanitarian workers who continue treating the wounded and sick amid Israel’s evacuation orders and attacks despite, deaths among their ranks and threats to their lives.

As of November 12, over 102 UN employees have been killed inside Gaza, alongside 182 health care workers.

“We call for the protection of all civilians, medical and humanitarian personnel, and unimpeded access to essential humanitarian supplies, including food, water, shelter, medicine, fuel and electricity,” the groups said, adding they stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle for peace and freedom in Palestine. # (Raymund B.Villanueva)