As miniscule aid teeters its way through the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt and women, children, and the disabled hang on to shackles of fleeting hope, the dire meltdown of Gaza’s healthcare system remains a classic case of international apathy. So far, the Western-led response to the unfolding genocide has been shockingly indifferent. The source of respite for the battered and besieged population is its hospitals, yet the Zionist entity has stripped Gaza of any relief whatsoever. As stated by the United Nations and the Gazan Health Ministry, the generators of hospitals across the strip will cease to function due to a fuel shortage. Despite this, the deafening silence toward Gaza’s health predicament remains.
As Israeli airstrikes intensify, approximately thirty-two health centers remain out of service. The occupation forces have made it clear that no fuel would be provided to Gaza as the territory is scorched by an apartheid government targeting refugee camps ranging from Jabaliya to Al-Shati’. Raids, shootings, and mass destruction are the norm with Israeli impunity being sanctioned directly by Washington D.C. The casualty toll stands at above 7,000 and rising with hospitals being flooded with patients by the minute. Those internally displaced number 1.4 million while 600,000 are taking refuge in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine facilities in dire conditions. The average number of IDPs per shelter has also reached 2.5 times of existing capacity.
According to the Gazan Health Ministry Spokesperson, Ashraf al-Qudra, the flow of humanitarian aid will have little impact on the unfolding dynamics in the healthcare sector. The entire structure was already grappling with systematic degradation of its facilities due to a decades-long occupation, and, as per al-Qudra, it has now reached its worst stage in history. Lack of blood units, threats to incubators, which are critical for premature babies to recover, and shortage of manpower are translating into a nightmarish scenario for Gazans. The UNRWA has warned that it could be forced to stop operations due to dwindling fuel supplies as calls mount for a humanitarian pause. With one-third of Palestinian casualties since October 7, 2023, being children alone, apathy toward the healthcare system is resulting in a complete loss of generations.
The Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza’s Beit Lahia area, for example, was shut down as it failed to carry out its services due to a lack of power. Footage shared on social media showed the hospital operating in complete darkness amid apprehensions of Israeli airstrikes in close proximity to the staff, patients, and doctors. In harrowing scenes, medical personnel were seen using portable flashlights to carry patients from ambulances, of which many were in critical condition. While power was eventually restored at the Indonesian Hospital, the unfolding scenes were an ominous sign of things awaiting other medical facilities across the Strip.
Yet, despite making cosmetic appeals to a fascist Prime Minister to allow unfettered aid into Gaza, US President Joe Biden did not mention, caution, or pressure “Israel” on the declining state of hospitals in Gaza. In essence, by not doing so, the United States and its Western allies have signed the death warrant for Gazans as any castigation of “Israel’s” inhumane occupation, bombardment, and crimes against humanity is deflected with the “right to self-defense” argument with disproportionate attention paid to Hamas as the so-called “greatest threat” to regional peace and stability. In fact, Hamas lived up to its expectations by releasing Israeli hostages, yet there is no relenting on the part of the occupation and its forces as far as cutting off critical supplies, such as fuel for hospitals, is concerned.
Among the worst affected by the medical meltdown are premature children or neonatal patients who suffer the most from the chilling, immoral, disgusting, and deplorable policy of the occupation. The constant flow of electricity for glass incubators is critical for such patients, many of whom develop health complications due to early births. That flow is solely dependent on fuel for generators that power hospitals, which remains scarce. According to the director of al-Aqsa Hospital, Iyad Abu Zahar, if the generators do stop working, the babies in the incubators could perish.
What is unfolding in al-Aqsa Hospital is ubiquitous across the Gaza Strip. Al-Quds Hospital received warnings from the Israeli military to evacuate in the absence of fuel, which is a clear indication that doctors treating premature babies could fail to save lives. Injured people have been seen lying on floors, Palestinians cramped up in tents, and even kidney patients were apprehensive over whether they would be able to receive dialysis treatment. Even prior to the war, the Health Ministry in Gaza warned of patie
nts suffering from a complete medical breakdown given the sixteen-year blockade by both Egypt and “Israel”. The abject nature of Gaza’s predicament, however, elicits no response.
The question is, has the Western-led so-called “international response” signed the death warrant for ordinary Gazans? If not, then why is the crippling health sector not being addressed to at least save the lives of those who have nothing to do with war but continue to remain a victim under an occupation. Most states would use the Israeli “self-defense” card to either ignore or bypass realities. That, however, does not change reality itself as Gazan’s health structure is on the brink of collapse.