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WHO warns that forced Israeli evacuation of Gaza is a “death sentence” for Palestinian hospital patients
By Ethan Huff // Oct 20, 2023

Israel's order that residents of Gaza flee the Palestinian territory within 24 hours is a "death sentence" for vulnerable hospital patients, warned the World Health Organization (WHO) this week.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic echoed an advisory issued by health authorities in Gaza that it is simply impossible to evacuate millions of people, especially those who are sick and indisposed in a hospital bed, to flee the land strip on Israel's timeline.

"There are severely ill people whose injuries mean their only chances of survival is being on life support, such as mechanical ventilators," Jasarevic said. "So, moving those people is a death sentence. Asking health workers to do so is beyond cruel."

The Israeli evacuation order covers about half the population of the Gaza Strip, or around 1.1 million people. Everyone who lives north of Wadi Gaza, a dividing line between the top and bottom half of the territory, has been told to leave immediately or else face the ire of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The United Nations (UN), the head organization of the WHO, says these 1.1 million Gazans are basically trapped inside the territory with nowhere to go and not nearly enough time to get there.

The UN used the word "impossible" to describe the Israeli order, while top European Union (EU) diplomat Josep Borrell called it "utterly unrealistic."

(Related: Gazans are desperately trying to leave the Israeli-targeted area as the world awaits planned ground invasion.)

Hamas tells Gaza residents to ignore Israeli evacuation order, calls it "fake propaganda"

Not everyone believes the threats of Israel, though. Hamas itself called the Israeli order "fake propaganda," urging Gaza residents to simply ignore it as just more empty saber-rattling from the "settlers."

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Even so, Gaza hospitals have reached a "breaking point," according to the WHO, which is calling for the creation of a humanitarian corridor to allow health workers to facilitate the evacuation of Gazans who are sick and injured.

According to Jasarevic, hospitals throughout Gaza are only receiving electricity for just a few hours every day. Many health care facilities are having to rely on emergency generators to power the most critical functions, including in intensive care units (ICUs) and neonatal ICUs.

"Time is running out to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, if fuel, water, food and life-saving health and humanitarian supplies cannot be urgently delivered to the Gaza Strip amidst the complete blockage," Jasarevic said.

The WHO further warned that there is only "24 hours of water, electricity and fuel left" in Gaza following the Israeli bombardment.

Meanwhile, protesters in Hebron, Jerusalem and Bethlehem were detained by IDF soldiers for publicly advocating for the human rights of the Palestinian people. Since the October 7 melee began, at least 560 Palestinians are said to have been detained in Israel.

Between October 7-15, Israeli forces attacked more than 110 health care facilities in Gaza and the West Bank. Fifteen health care workers in Gaza have been killed and 27 were injured.

In the occupied West Bank, including in Jerusalem, six health workers have been injured, according to the WHO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly contacted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to offer Russia's support in ending the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Putin called for an immediate ceasefire, and for the interests of the Palestinians to be remembered and taken into account amid all this.

The EU has also said it will launch a "humanitarian air bridge operation" involving "several flights" to Egypt that aim to bring supplies to the various humanitarian organizations operating on the ground in Gaza.

What do you think will happen next in the Middle East? Learn more at WWIII.news.

Sources for this article include:




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