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The Horror of the Al-Shifa Hospital Massacre

Use a heading such as:

* “From the Front Lines: The Al-Shifa Hospital Massacre”
* “Al-Shifa Hospital Siege: A Plea for International Intervention”
* “Gaza in Despair: The unfolding Story of Al-Shifa’s Ruin”
* “A Cry for Help: The Dire Situation at Al-Shifa Hospital”

I find myself at a loss for words as I draft this letter, yet compelled by a grave urgency to communicate the horrors unfolding in Gaza, specifically the atrocities committed at Al-Shifa Hospital by Israeli forces. The recent siege, lasting two weeks, has culminated in a scene of devastation that is almost beyond comprehension.

The hospital, once a refuge for the critically injured and ill Palestinians, along with the medical staff caring for them and 30,000 Palestinians seeking shelter, has been left in ruins. Outside, the once busy courtyard has been dug up and now is littered with hundreds of dead bodies. These bodies, many in pieces, were field executed, crushed under Israeli bulldozers. Among the dead are known doctors and nurses from Al-Shifa, and heartbreakingly, among the fragments, the small hands of children are visible. Two of the bodies, despite being dismembered, have been identified as medical doctor Yusra Maqadmeh and her son, Ahmed, who was also a doctor at Al-Shifa.

As more details come to light, it is estimated that over 450 civilians have met their end in this manner, their bodies left to decay, many with their hands tied behind their backs. The imagery of small children among the deceased is a poignant reminder of the indiscriminate nature of these killings.

The hospital itself is a scene of devastation, burnt out and partially destroyed. Beyond its walls, Israel has dropped bombs on over 1,050 homes, leaving them in ruins and their occupants dead. Among the stories is that of Ali Al-Dorra, previously a victim of an Israeli bombing that cost him his legs. Found alive in his destroyed home, he had not eaten or drunk for two weeks, his body being consumed by maggots. This merciless act is not without precedent. Similar accusations of the hospital being a Hamas stronghold were made in the past, yet extensive investigations by international bodies and news organisations, including the BBC, Channel 4, CNN, the UN, and Amnesty International, found no evidence to support such claims. It is clear that the victims of this atrocity, including medical staff, patients, and children, are not the terrorists Israel claims them to be.

The massacre at Al-Shifa is a grim milestone, marking one of the largest massacres against Palestinians since 1948. The disappearance of hundreds individuals, feared taken to ‘death zones’, underscores the escalating severity of this crisis. Reports from Israeli soldiers and analyses by experts on genocide unanimously indicate a campaign against civilians, in stark violation of international law and the Geneva Convention. On March 31st, Israeli military soldiers have said that of the 9,000 terrorists they claimed to have killed, the vast majority were civilians “whose only crime was to cross an invisible line drawn by the IDF” – Haaretz. This is on top of the over 38,000 Palestinians killed by Israel, of which over 15,000 are children according to Human Rights Medical Watch.

Since the Israeli military operation commenced in Gaza, which almost all Holocaust and genocide experts unanimously agree constitutes a genocide campaign, Israel has bombed 285 healthcare facilities. This includes 28 hospitals, 65 clinics, and 192 ambulances. To be clear, each one of these acts constitutes a war crime and is illegal under the Geneva Convention. While Israel is always quick to point to Hamas, thankfully, diligent investigative journalists and organisations around the world have spent months combing through all evidence provided by Israel. As of 23rd March 2024, not a single healthcare facility attacked has shown any evidence of Hamas presence. However, even if there were, this still would not be acceptable under the Geneva Convention.

I am still haunted by the horrific images from Al-Nasr Hospital, where Israel forcibly evacuated the hospital, killed medical staff and patients, and, despite the pleas of doctors, made them leave an entire ward of premature babies. When doctors returned, they found the babies all decomposing in their ventilators, alongside a children’s ward also filled with decomposing bodies of children. This has gone on for way too long. The world sees what Israel has done, and our country MUST sanction the state and bring an end to the suffering. It is on every one of us to do whatever we can to stop a genocide from taking place, and no matter how grave the atrocities of 7th October were, committing this level of suffering, starvation, and contempt for human life is unacceptable.

I will also remind you that the United Nations Security Council voted on an immediate ceasefire, and the beginning of the return of hostages. Hamas has agreed to the terms of the hostage release, but Israel will not agree to the ceasefire. It must be stressed, that the return of hostages is not connected to the ceasefire, the ceasefire was ordered to be implemented immediately. Israel is a rogue state, it is on trial for genocide at the highest court in the world, and has directly ignored the pleas from its closest allies in the west.

Day after day, the genocide in Gaza worsens, and the evidence is becoming irrefutable. I am writing to you today, because I want to make sure you cannot claim you didn’t know, because you did.