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Euro-Med: Al-Shifa witnesses one of the largest massacres in Palestinian history

GAZA (Palestine Foundation Information Center) The Israeli army carried out a massive, shockingly horrific military operation in Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City over the past two weeks, indiscriminately targeting and attacking Palestinians regardless of their civilian status, professional standing, gender, age, or health condition, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor revealed in a statement issued Monday.

Though the exact number of casualties from the atrocity is still unknown, preliminary reports suggest that over 1,500 Palestinians have been killed, injured, or are reported missing as a result of the massacre at Al-Shifa, with women and children making up half of the casualties, the statement reads.

Euro-Med Monitor was able to confirm from its initial investigation and testimonies that hundreds of dead bodies, including some burned, and others with their heads and limbs severed, have been discovered both inside Al-Shifa Medical Complex and in the hospital’s surrounding area.

The massacre claimed the lives of at least 22 patients who were killed in their hospital beds during the Israeli siege of the Medical Complex, amid the willful deprivation of their access to food, medical care, and supplies. Israel’s army also purposefully prevented relief teams and representatives of international organizations from entering Al-Shifa to carry out humanitarian missions or evacuations, plus purposefully clearing the Complex of all working personnel—particularly medical personnel—either by summary execution or forced displacement or arrest. The whereabouts of some of these individuals are still unknown.

Al-Shifa Medical Complex is currently out of service due to the Israeli army bombing and setting fire to every one of its buildings, including the mortuary and all internal and external courtyards and corridors.

The attack on Al-Shifa Medical Complex is the most visible aspect yet of Israel’s systematic and carefully-crafted plan to destroy and besiege the Gaza Strip’s health sector, bring it to the brink of collapse, and deny the Palestinian population any chance at survival or medical care, or shelter.

The massacre at Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the systematic and widespread targeting of civilians and civilian objects, i.e. the targeting of what is left of the health system in the Gaza Strip, killing and putting thousands of sick and injured civilians, displaced families, medical teams, and journalists at risk of being directly targeted, depriving the population of its civilian status and severing families from one another. These crimes are further proof of the genocide that Israel has been committing against the Palestinian people in the Strip for the past six months.

The Israeli army committed the Al-Shifa Medical Complex massacre with the utmost disregard for international humanitarian law, particularly its rules pertaining to distinction, proportionality, and military necessity; respect for the unique protections enjoyed by civilian hospitals and medical teams; protection for civilians; protection for the sick and wounded; and the prohibition against targeting them even if they are military personnel.

As Israel has not yet produced any documentation to justify or validate its massive and dangerous execution of crimes that are flagrant violations of international humanitarian law, all international bodies and institutions present and operating in the Gaza Strip, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, should visit the crime scene, document all forensic evidence associated with it, and gather witness and victim testimonies. In addition, the relevant local authorities in the Strip must take immediate steps to protect the crime scene, document any related evidence, and take all reasonable precautions to prevent the loss or destruction of this evidence.

The Euro-Med called on the international community to act swiftly and forcefully to defend Palestinian civilians against the genocide that Israel has been committing in the Gaza Strip for the past six months. This action should include safeguarding the ill, injured, displaced, medical personnel, and journalists, as well as applying genuine pressure on Israel to cease its grave crimes in the region, including those committed against medical facilities, as well as its forced displacement and starvation of civilians.

The Euro-Med also urged the international community to work together to ensure that Israel complies with international law, and the ruling of the International Court of Justice, and is held responsible for all its crimes, including the massacre conducted in Al-Shifa Medical Complex.

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