An Urgent Distress Call from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society 17th October

At the time of writing, PMRS has in the last hour learned of the Baptist Hospital in Gaza being bombed. It has been confirmed that over 500 have been killed and hundreds more injured. The act of attacking a hospital or any healthcare infrastructure or personnel is a grave violation of international law and can constitute a war crime under article 8 of the Geneva Convention. This distressing news comes at the end of 10 consecutive days of constant attacks on healthcare, overall, 113 counts (WHO) of attacks on healthcare alone.

The situation has reached beyond devastating and can only be described as a nightmare. In 10 days, a total of:

– 1030 children killed

– 3000 in total killed

– Over 12,500 injured

– 1200 people missing – 500 of them children

– Over 50,000 pregnant women are considered high risk with 15,000 women due any day

– Hundreds of children orphaned and/or considered “unknown” because they cannot be identified

– Majority of Gazans have been forced to drink unsafe or sea water

– Food is running out

Today the Ministry of Health had put out a distress call, requesting any fuel left in Gaza to be handed over to the ministry to support the function of the remaining hospitals in Gaza. In a matter of hours, the remaining hospitals will lose power, rendering them unable to function on a very basic level, and as one Dr described, the hospital will turn into a mass grave. How many more hospitals need to be turned into a mass grave before the world will be outraged enough to end this.

As water, food, medical supplies, and fuel run out in the next hours, our teams, peers and people are being left to die slowly. It has now reached a point that being bombed versus a slow death would be a blessing. We should not have to consider such options or words, and yet 10 days after the first day of being attacked, here we are, still begging for support to end the heinous crimes being committed against Palestinians.

The last ten days have been very clear examples of various international laws being broken. Such as:

1. Unlawful killings: This includes deliberate targeting of civilians, and the disproportionate use of force resulting in civilian casualties.

2. Collective punishment: The deliberate targeting of a group or community as a form of punishment, which is prohibited under international law. This includes the bombing of civilians and restricted access to water, food and supplies.

3. Attacks on civilian infrastructure: Deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure, such as homes, hospitals, schools, and water facilities that are not justified by military necessity.

4. Use of prohibited weapons: The use of weapons that are indiscriminate or cause excessive harm to civilians, such as white phosphorus confirmed to be used against women and children these last days.

5. Forced displacement and population transfer: The forced displacement of civilians or the transfer of population by an occupying power such as the 1 million Palestinians forced to move to the south of Gaza, whilst also being bombed.

6. Destruction of property and cultural heritage: The intentional destruction of civilian property, including homes, cultural sites, and religious sites.

10 days of atrocities and yet the silence amongst those who have the power to stop this, is deafening. PMRS issues a distress call to all our allies, supporters and to those who stand for humanity. PMRS issues a distress call to anyone who has capacity to lobby and advocate their governments to condemn what is occurring in Gaza right now. PMRS issues a distress call to draw attention to the heinous crimes against humanity being committed right now in Gaza and to demand all leaders to recognize these crimes and condemn these acts.

There can be no justification for the slaughtering of over 1000 children. There is no justification for withholding of humanitarian aid or bombing the road to be used for said aid to reach millions of Palestinians in Gaza. There can never be a justification for genocide.

In 1 week, the world’s largest open-air prison was turned into an extermination camp. We plead that you heed this distress call and take action to stop the extermination of Palestinians in Gaza.