500 Palestinian civilians were martyred and hundreds other were wounded following an air strike by Israel Defense Forces targeting the Anglican-run Al-Ahli Hospital on Tuesday evening, in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the center of Gaza.
Medical staff, hundreds of patients previously injured in the 11 days Israeli terror campaign and civilians who took refuge there were among the martyrs. Already short of hospitals, drugs and staff, overwhelmed rescuers are scrambling to recover the mangled bodies and transport the hundreds of injured survivors to already overcrowded health facilities in Gaza.
The horror of this blatant war crime shocked humanity and hundreds of protests shook the region forcing the King of Jordan to cancel a summit between him, the US, Egyptian and Palestinian Authority presidents which was to take place the next day.
Faced with global outcry, Israel, which had previously admitted targeting the hospital, backed down and instead blamed Palestinian Islamic Jihad after “misfiring a rocket”. Experts have cast doubt on Israel’s claims because rockets from Palestinian resistance factions do not have the capacity to kill hundreds of people. Israel has a long history of denying its war crimes.
Western leaders who had given Israel carte blanche to bomb Palestinian civilians, repeating ad nauseam “Israel’s right to defend itself”, posted an evasive “horrible” statement and “international law must be respected” without condemning the culprit of this horror. However, France and Spain condemned the hospital bombing without mentioning Israel or blaming it on any other group.
Earlier, Spain’s Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, stood out from the other European Union leaders by denouncing the “planned genocide” and “collective punishment” of the Palestinians of Gaza and by announcing that she would ask the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor to investigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes.
Arab and Muslim leaders, but also left-leaning Latin American leaders and the African Union, strongly condemned the Zionist occupation’s attack on Al-Ahli hospital which also served as a sanctuary for at least 4,000 people displaced by the Zionist aggression.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized the Zionist regime for “hitting a hospital where there were women, children and innocent civilians”. An action he described as “devoid of the most fundamental human values”. He also called for “all humanity to act to put an end to this unprecedented brutality in Gaza.”
Outside the region, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used the harshest words about the heinous attack, condemning and saying he was “horrified by the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians.”
Gaza is under heavy non-stop bombardment since October 7 when the Palestinian Resistance, led by Hamas’ military wing, hit hard for the first time the Zionist occupation forces after years of assassinations, unrestrained settlers’ violence, blockade, arbitrary arrest, destruction of homes and crops, dispossession of their land and desecration of the holy site of Al-Aqsa.
Israel has responded with even more forceful attacks, supported by the United States and some European countries. Its assault destroyed so far a third of the Gaza Strip and killed nearly 4,000 Palestinians, injured 15,000 and displaced more than a million people.