Human rights group wants Israeli attacks on Gaza hospitals “investigated as war crimes”
11/15/2023 // Ethan Huff // Views

An international non-governmental organization (NGO) known as Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling for Israel's actions in Gaza thus far to be "investigated as war crimes."

As news continues to pour in about Israel bombing hospitals and other medical facilities filled with sick patients, as well as refugee camps and other places where civilians are seeking refuge, the non-Zionist world is demanding justice for these "apparently unlawful attacks" by the Israeli military.

"Despite the Israeli military's claims on Nov. 5, 2023, of 'Hamas's cynical use of hospitals,' no evidence put forward would justify depriving hospitals and ambulances of their protected status under international humanitarian law," HRW maintains.

According to international humanitarian law, a war crime is a serious violation in which innocent people are killed with criminal intent. HRW believes this is what Israel is doing, and it is urging the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct an immediate investigation into the matter.

(Related: Israel has already destroyed or rendered inoperable 22 hospitals and 49 medical centers across Gaza.)

At least two-thirds of Gaza's healthcare facilities, half of all hospitals, now non-functional

The latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that, as of November 10, at least two-thirds of all primary healthcare facilities in Gaza are either no longer operational or destroyed because of Israel's insurgency. Roughly half of all Gaza hospitals are also non-functional.

As of November 12, at least 521 people, including 16 medical workers, have been killed in a whopping 137 "attacks on health care" in Gaza.

"Israel's repeated attacks damaging hospitals and harming healthcare workers, already hard hit by an unlawful blockade, have devastated Gaza's healthcare infrastructure," commented A. Kayum Ahmed, special adviser on the right to health at HRW.

"The strikes on hospitals have killed hundreds of people and put many patients at grave risk because they're unable to receive proper medical care."

Between October 7, the day of the Hamas attack, and November 7, HRW says it was able to investigate Israeli attacks that occurred on or near five different healthcare facilities in Gaza. That investigation found that:

1) Israel repeatedly struck and completely destroyed the International Eye Hospital in Gaza on October 10 or October 11.

2) Israel conducted air raids on or near the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, forcing it to close on November 1.

3) Repeated Israeli attacks on the al-Quds hospital resulted in a man and a child becoming injured.

4) Israel destroyed well-marked ambulances on several occasions, resulting in at least a dozen people losing their lives and several others wounded.

"These ongoing attacks are not isolated," HRW claims. "Israeli forces have also carried out scores of strikes damaging several other hospitals across Gaza."

Now reports have emerged that due to power cuts by Israel at al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest, a number of premature babies are likely to die because their incubators no longer have access to electricity.

HRW notes that, according to the ICC's Rome Statute, "intentionally directing attacks against ... medical units and transport" is strictly prohibited as a war crime.

"Hospitals and other medical facilities are civilian objects that have special protections under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war," the group says. "Hospitals only lose their protection from attack if they are being used to commit 'acts harmful to the enemy,' and after a required warning."

Israel, meanwhile, still insists that Hamas militants are hiding in "command centers" beneath these hospitals and medical facilities, which is why the Jewish state says it continues to bomb and destroy them.

The latest news about Israel's ongoing war crimes in Gaza and the world's response to them can be found at

Sources for this article include:

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