BY ALEX BALUKU
Baluku is a distinguished Fellow of the Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists, currently reporting from the United States of America on the 78th UN General Assembly. With a keen eye for global affairs and a commitment to delivering insightful coverage of UN activities, Baluku brings a unique perspective to the world of international journalism.
A recent Israeli military operation in Gaza has garnered international attention, raising concerns about the safety of civilians caught in the crossfire. The incident involved an airstrike that reportedly hit al-Ahli Arab Hospital, resulting in a significant number of casualties, including patients and displaced Palestinians seeking refuge in the facility.
If confirmed, this incident would mark one of the deadliest single Israeli airstrikes in over a decade. Images of the hospital compound engulfed in flames and scenes of distress have flooded news outlets and social media, intensifying the international outcry.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) expressed its outrage, stating, “This is outrageous and once again, it shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians.” The condemnation extended further as Jordan’s King Abdullah II called the attack a “massacre” and a “shame on humanity.”
The Gaza health ministry clarified that the hospital played a crucial role in providing shelter to civilians who had been forcibly displaced from their homes. The ongoing Israeli army shelling has led to tens of thousands of families seeking refuge in Gaza’s already overwhelmed hospitals.
Heartbreaking scenes were captured on Al Jazeera footage, showing medics and civilians recovering bodies with white bags or blankets. The hospital courtyard bore the evidence of the tragic incident, with bloodstains and several burnt vehicles.
Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) political party, emphasized the need for world leaders to reconsider their support for Israel in light of this attack. He pointed out, “Nobody in the world attacks hospitals in any other country. Will they condemn this Israeli massacre? Will they condemn this Israeli behavior? They know they can stop Israel. They know they can restrain Israel. They are the ones providing weapons, money, and support to these Israeli aggressors.”
Barghouti also suggested that civilian infrastructure appears to be deliberately targeted in Israeli military operations.
The airstrike on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital is just one example of civilian targets being hit in Gaza. An earlier incident involved a United Nations-operated school that housed thousands of displaced Palestinians, resulting in at least six fatalities.
The ongoing violence in Gaza since the conflict erupted on October 7 has led to the loss of thousands of lives. The international community continues to call for an immediate ceasefire and a resolution to the crisis to prevent further loss of civilian lives.