TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The international medical organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders/MSF) strongly condemns the attack on Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital on July 28, 2014, where an MSF surgical team is working. Al Shifa is the main referral hospital for the entire Gaza Strip. This latest bombing of a health facility, where thousands of people have taken refuge since Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge three weeks ago, demonstrates how civilians in Gaza have nowhere safe to go, and shows the difficulties of providing emergency aid in Gaza.
One MSF international staff member was in the building when the outpatient department of Al Shifa hospital was bombed. Although no one was injured in the attack, Al Shifa is the fourth hospital in Gaza that has been hit since July 8, the others being the European General hospital, Al Aqsa hospital and Beit Hanoun hospital.
"Targeting hospitals and their surroundings is completely unacceptable and a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law," says Tommaso Fabbri, MSF's head of mission in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "Whatever the circumstances, health facilities and medical staff must be protected and respected. But in Gaza today, hospitals are not the safe havens they should be."
One hour after Al Shifa was attacked, a rocket hits the Shati refugee camp. The injured, most of which were children, were brought to Al Shifa. "Two thirds of the injuries I've seen arriving at Al Shifa have been children," says Michele Beck, MSF’s medical advisor in Gaza.
For medical and humanitarian organizations such as MSF, working and moving in and around Gazais extremely difficult and dangerous. In the past three weeks, local ambulances and Red Crescent paramedics have been killed and wounded. On July 20, there was an airstrike just a few hundred meters from a clearly identified MSF car. On the same day, a missile, which failed to explode, drops some 10 meters from an MSF tent set up in the compound of Nasser hospital, in southern Gaza.
MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES