The situation in the Gaza Strip is reaching a critical juncture as the Israeli military intensifies its operations. With the conflict between Israel and the Hamas militant group showing no signs of subsiding, the Israeli forces are exerting a stronger grip on northern Gaza.
This military escalation comes amid growing humanitarian concerns, as the region's infrastructure teeters on the brink of collapse. Israel's national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, acknowledges the severity of the situation, noting that the allowance of more fuel into Gaza is crucial to support the failing water and sewage systems.
The fuel shortage has also severely impacted healthcare facilities, leading to tragic outcomes. According to medical professionals in Gaza, the lack of electricity has caused deaths in intensive care units and halted necessary surgeries.
Hostage Crisis and Gaza's Hospital Plight
The crisis deepens as efforts to negotiate the release of hostages in Gaza continue, against a backdrop of escalating violence. The discovery of at least two hostages found dead in recent days adds to the urgency of these negotiations.
The state of healthcare in Gaza remains dire. The Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Health in Ramallah reports that out of 35 hospitals in the region, 26 have ceased operations due to bombardment damage or fuel shortages.
The largest hospital in Gaza, Al-Shifa, is struggling to provide basic care, grappling with no water and electricity in its main buildings. The situation is so severe that most intensive care patients on ventilators have died, according to Dr.
Ahmad Mofeed Al-Mokhalalati of Al-Shifa Hospital.
The Arrival of Fuel and Water Crisis
In a significant development, two fuel tankers entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing. This follows Israel's war cabinet's approval to allow regular deliveries to the besieged enclave, a decision influenced by international pressure.
Most of the fuel is earmarked for vital services, including UN relief agency trucks, water and sewage systems, waste disposal, bakeries, and hospitals. However, this move has already sparked criticism within the Israeli government.
The water situation in Gaza is increasingly alarming. UN human rights official Pedro Arrojo-Agudo has urged Israel to cease using water as a “weapon of war”. Dehydration and waterborne diseases are rampant, with approximately 70% of Gaza's population now consuming salinized and contaminated water, as per the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
With a healthcare system in shambles and a mounting water crisis, the need for an immediate and humane resolution is more pressing than ever.