Doctors without Borders fear that Gaza has plummeted to the point of no longer having a healthcare system.
The Al Amal Hospital in southern Gaza’s city of Khan Younis is battling a “depletion” of oxygen supplies, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society PRCS reported on Sunday.
In their flash update posted on X, the PRCS warned that this critical shortage, induced by an ongoing Israel siege of the hospital, hampers the ability of medical personnel to perform surgical operations.
The humanitarian mission also reported that Al Amal is still being inundated with wounded Palestinians, as the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continue to target residential areas in Khan Younis.
This strain on Gaza’s already crippling health sector comes in the immediate aftermath of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on Friday that there was ‘plausible risk’ of Israel having committed acts and omissions of genocide in Gaza.
As part of the ICJ’s six-fold verdict, Israel has been ordered to not kill Palestinian civilians or continue to cause serious bodily or mental harm.
The World Court’s ruling also instructs Israel to take “immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”.
As South Africa and Israel are United Nations member states, the ICJ’s decision is legally binding. However, as exemplified by no let up in Israel’s onslaught of Gaza, the court faces challenges enforcing its rulings.
Due to a lack of enforcement mechanisms, Neil Sammonds, a Senior Campaigner at the War on Want advocacy group concluded, “This leaves everything in Israel’s hands.
“There are no specifics about how Israel should bring in more aid and Netanyahu has already said Israel will not abide by the court’s ruling,” he added.
‘Collapsed’ hospital services
Friday also saw Doctors without Borders (MSF) report that vital medical services at Al Nasser Hospital, Khan Younis’ largest hospital, have all but “collapsed,” amid intensified Israeli shelling.
In a news release, MSF’s Medical Coordinator in Palestine, Guillemette Thomas said this has caused the majority of medical staff and internally displaced Palestinians seeking shelter at the hospital to flee en masse, following a forcible evacuation order by the IOF.
Yet, at least 300 to 350 severely wounded patients remain at the medical complex – unable to leave due to their critical health conditions.
According to a Friday impact report from the UN’s humanitarian agency, UN OCHA, IOF air, land and sea offensives have rendered at least 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza internally displaced since October 7.
UN OCHA’s report added that 64,487 people in the enclave have been injured.
Just 14 out of 36 of the besieged enclave’s hospitals are forced to bear the strain of this immense medical crisis. Yet, these hospitals are only partially functional.
Thomas remarked that Gaza no longer has a healthcare system.
Commenting on the ICJ’s ruling, she added that, “while this is a significant step, only a sustained ceasefire can stop the loss of more civilian lives, enable the flow of humanitarian assistance and vital supplies for the 2.2 million people living in the enclave”.