An injured Palestinian girl wrapped in bandages from the waist down is evacuated

Injured Palestinians evacuated from the Indonesian Hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip receive care at Nasser Hospital in the Palestinian territory's southern city of Khan Yunis on November 20, 2023.

(Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

Head of Bombed Gaza Hospital Appeals Directly to Biden

"You have destroyed the international rules of the game, insulted the authority of the U.N., torn apart the sense of justice... and tarnished the face of human civilization."

The director of the aid group that runs the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza—where Israeli attacks killed at least a dozen people on Monday—appealed directly to U.S. President Joe Biden, imploring him to push Israel to accept a cease-fire in a war that's killed or maimed more than 40,000 Palestinians.

"Gazans are facing death every day. Every five minutes, a Palestinian child is killed," Sarbini Abdul Murad, head of Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) Indonesia, wrote in a letter to Biden.

Noting that Israeli forces have attacked "babies, children, women, the elderly, the disabled, hospitals, ambulances, medics, schools, teachers, residential complexes, worship places, and much more," Murad asserted that "this is completely genocide and ethnic cleansing."

"It is very unfortunate that your siding with Israel by facilitating weapons of mass destruction has actually made the conflict even wider," Murad continued. "Your action clearly contradicts various international treaties and agreements that apply to the existence of Palestine. You have destroyed the international rules of the game, insulted the authority of the [United Nations], torn apart the sense of justice, hurt human values, and tarnished the face of human civilization."

"Mr. President, we believe you still have a conscience," Murad wrote. "Your great country certainly wants to be seen as honorable for its humanitarian defenses. Moreover, your administration has determined to make the principles of multilateralism, justice, and human rights the foundation of United States foreign policy. So, actually, this is the right to prove it."

Urging Biden to "avoid double standards in dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," Murad added: "For the sake of peace and humanity, we demand that you immediately do [a] cease-fire. Restore the dignity of the United States as a country that upholds human rights. The cease-fire must be implemented now, so as not to increase the loss of life on both sides."

Murad's letter came as Israel Defense Forces tanks surrounded the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza after IDF artillery shelling killed 12 people in the facility's compound, including patients and their companions, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The ministry also said many people were wounded in the attack, including patients in critical condition.

"The attack is a clear violation of international humanitarian laws. All countries, especially those that have close relations with Israel, must use all their influence and capabilities to urge Israel to stop its atrocities," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Monday.

According to Gaza officials, there are about 700 patients, staff, and other Palestinians trapped in the Indonesian Hospital. People trying to flee the compound have reportedly come under Israeli fire.

Marwan Abdallah, a medical worker at hospital, told Al Jazeera that Israeli tanks could be seen maneuvering around the compound.

"You can see them moving around and firing," Abdallah said. "Women and children are terrified. There are constant sounds of explosions and gunfire."

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is "appalled" by the attacks on Indonesian Hospital.

"Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, and especially while inside a hospital," the agency said in a statement.

"There have been multiple and ongoing attacks on health facilities in the last six weeks, that have resulted in forced mass evacuations from hospitals, and multiple fatalities and casualties among patients, their companions, and those who had sought refuge in hospitals," WHO continued.

"The Indonesian Hospital had already reportedly sustained damages due to at least five attacks since October 7," the organization added, referring to the date when Israel began bombarding Gaza by air, land, and sea following the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel that killed around 1,200 people, with another 240 or so taken hostage.

"The world cannot stand silent while these hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair."

"WHO has recorded 335 attacks on healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory since October 7, including 164 attacks in the Gaza Strip and 171 attacks in the West Bank," WHO noted. "There were also 33 attacks on healthcare in Israel during the violent events of October 7."

"The world cannot stand silent while these hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair," the agency added.

On Tuesday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, said two of its physicians—Drs. Mahmoud Abu Nujaila and Ahmad Al Sahar—were killed along with another doctor, Ziad Al-Tatari, in a strike on al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza.

"We condemn this strike in the strongest terms, and call yet again for the respect and protection of medical facilities, staff, and patients," MSF said in a statement.

Israeli officials claim Hamas and other Palestinian militants are using hospitals as headquarters. However, Israel has provided no proof to support its allegations, which Palestinian and international medical professionals working in the facilities resoundingly refute.

According to Palestine's WAFANews Agency, at least 205 Palestinian medical workers have been killed by Israeli bombs and bullets during the war.

The WHO said Tuesday that one of its employees, Dima Alhaj, was killed in an Israeli attack on Gaza alongside her husband, their 6-month-old baby, and two of the woman's brothers.

Israel and Hamas appeared close to reaching a Qatar-brokered multiday cease-fire agreement on Tuesday, with hard-right holdouts in Israel's government—most notably, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich—opposed to the deal, which would reportedly involve the release of around 50 civilian hostages held by Hamas and of Palestinian women and children imprisoned by Israel.

Gaza officials said Tuesday that the death toll from Israel's 46-day onslaught rose to at least 14,128, including over 3,900 women and 5,800 children. Tens of thousands more Palestinians have been wounded, nearly 1.7 million others have been forcibly displaced, and around half of all homes in the embattled strip have been damaged or destroyed.

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