Palestinian medical workers refuse Israeli ultimatum to evacuate hospitals in north Gaza

Ahram Online , Saturday 14 Oct 2023

Nibal Farsakh, the spokeswoman for the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC), said that the medical staff at Al-Shifa and Al-Quds Hospitals in northern Gaza will not leave their workplaces, rejecting the Israeli occupation army’s ultimatum to the hospitals in the north of the strip to evacuate.

Palestinians wounded in Israeli air strikes on Gaza Strip are brought to al-Aqsa hospital in Deir el
Palestinians wounded in Israeli air strikes on Gaza Strip are brought to al-Aqsa hospital in Deir el-Balah City, Gaza Strip, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. AP

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza rejected the Israeli ultimatum, stating that this is an impossible task.

For more than a week, the Gaza Strip has been subjected to ceaseless Israeli bombing, which has claimed the lives of more than 2,200 Palestinians and wounded more than 10,000, in addition to a million people whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

"We had several meetings and we made the decision. We can't leave our patients in the hospital," Farsakh told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

"We have elderly people. We have people with disabilities. We can't leave them alone and turn our backs."

On Friday, the Israeli occupation army ordered more than 1.1 million people to leave the northern half of the Gaza Strip within 24 hours as it prepares to launch a ground invasion.

Since 7 October, Israel has specifically targeted Palestinian emergency responders and medical facilities in the Gaza Strip on multiple occasions, damaging 15 medical centres, taking two hospitals - Beit Hanoun and Al-Dura Hospital for Children - out of service, and killing at least 28 responders.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, a video that went viral showed Israeli airstrikes blowing apart Palestinian emergency medical responders as they attempted to rescue civilians targeted in an airstrike in the Jabalys refugee camp in north Gaza.

Farsakh said she has been saying farewell to friends and colleagues who she may never see again, CBC said.

"It was one of the hardest moments [of my life] this morning when my colleague called me to say goodbye," she said, weeping.

"He told me, 'I'm not going to leave. Even if our organization decides to leave, I want to continue providing my services, helping people.'"

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