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Israel Hinders Humanitarian Aid to Gaza – The Nasser Hospital

“An urgent and lasting cessation of hostilities.” This is what the United Nations (UN) is impatiently searching for in hopes of putting an end to the perpetual Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This was also what the UN was searching for when negotiating a Gaza humanitarian resolution back in December 2023. Now, two months later, the situation only exacerbates.

On January 29, an Israeli document uncovered allegations against 12 UN employees who allegedly participated in the Hamas’ October 7 assaults that prompted the current occupation of Gaza. Specifically, the staffers were under UNRWA, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the largest UN subsidiary operating in the Middle East, funded nearly completely by contributions from donor countries and partnerships. The allegations spurred numerous donor nations–especially the United States–to freeze key funding to the organization. Even though the UN condemned “the abhorrent alleged acts” and fired staffers accordingly, the agency was withheld $440 million–virtually half of its budget. The European Union is torn on whether or not to cease donations, the next of which is scheduled for the end of this month. Without the funding, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini proclaimed that the financially troubled subsidiary may have to cease operations.

The World Health Organization also remains inadequate in aiding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza as the organization finds itself in a deadlock with Israeli occupiers.

The Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis was besieged on February 13. Israeli troops were holding captive 95 medics, 191 patients, and 165 displaced people–including children–in an old building at the medical center under “harsh conditions” without water or food, as reported by Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra. The Israeli army has charged Hamas with holding prisoners at the hospital facility, but it has not shown any proof. Gaza’s governing Palestinian faction denied all allegations.

International medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) posted on February 15 that their medical staff had to flee the hospital, leaving about 150 patients at the hands of Israeli militants.

On February 14, it was reported that since November, only 40% of missions requested by the World Health Organization (WHO) to northern Gaza and only 45% of those towards southern Gaza have been sanctioned by Israel–a figure in steady decline. The WHO representative for the occupied Palestinian territory, Rik Peeperkorn, exclaimed that “Hospitals are completely overwhelmed and overflowing and undersupplied.” Similar blockades happened with UNRWA in early February when agency director Philippe Lazzarini revealed that a convoy of food donated by Türkiye–enough for 1.1 million people for a month–was stuck in the Israeli port city of Ashdod after Israel ordered “not to process any UNRWA goods.”

WHO provided updates on the recent situation on February 20, where the organization reported two life-saving missions to transfer 32 entrapped critical patients from Nasser Medical Complex in southern Gaza on 18 and 19 February. It was also announced that the ICU was inoperative; the hospital had no electricity or running water and was far from a sterile environment expected as the hospital is encircled by thick layers of rubble from burned-out, demolished structures and roads. At least 15 healthcare professionals, along with an estimated 130 sick and injured patients, are still kept at the hospital. All operational hospitals are already overwhelmed.

This Tuesday, the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations declared that it would be halting its food and humanitarian delivery to the northern Gaza region in a three-week hiatus after incessant bombardments and the convoys "fac[ing] complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order".

The words of WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a recent media briefing summarize the situation: “The health and humanitarian situation in Gaza is inhumane and continues to deteriorate, on a broader level, Gaza has become a death zone".

The Israel-Palestine war on a political level should be resolved for the long-term stability and safety of the region and the people. The first and foremost issue; however, is the atrocities innocents have to face amidst the chaos. They must get help, and get it now.

Works Cited

“In Pictures: Gaza’s Spiraling Public Health Crisis.” Reuters, 20 Feb. 2024.

Jazeera, Al. “UN Security Council in Intense Negotiations on Gaza Humanitarian Resolution.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 19 Dec. 2023.

‌24, FRANCE, and FRANCE 24. “🔴Live: WFP Pauses Food Deliveries to Northern Gaza amid ‘Chaos.’” France 24, FRANCE 24, 21 Feb. 2024.

X (Formerly Twitter), 2024.

‌Moloney, Charlie, and Amy Sedghi. “Middle East Crisis: MSF Says ‘Medical Staff Have Had to Flee’ Gaza’s Nasser Hospital Following Israeli Military Intervention – as It Happened.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 15 Feb. 2024.

‌Sedghi, Amy, et al. “Middle East Crisis: World Health Organization Accuses Israel of Impeding Aid Delivery in Gaza – as It Happened.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 14 Feb. 2024.

‌FRANKEL, JULIA. “Israel Is Holding up Food for 1.1 Million Palestinians in Gaza, the Main UN Aid Agency There Says.” AP News, AP News, 9 Feb. 2024.

GOLDENBERG, TIA, et al. “Document Spells out Allegations against UNRWA Workers Israel Says Participated in Hamas Attack.” AP News, AP News, 29 Jan. 2024.

‌Jazeera, Al. “‘Catastrophic Situation’ at Gaza’s Nasser Hospital amid Israeli Raid.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 15 Feb. 2024.


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