Following 2-week siege, Gaza hospital in ruins – Day 177

Following 2-week siege, Gaza hospital in ruins – Day 177

After withdrawing from al Shifa Hospital, Israeli military says it “prevented harm to civilians, patients, and medical teams”; Easter in the Holy Land; 3 shiploads en route to Gaza from World Central Kitchen; journalists targeted; Rafah attack plan ready; Flour Massacre; Netanyahu (mis)explains world’s opposition; Zionism hard at work; Harvard divests, more

By IAK staff, from reports

UTTER DEVASTATION, ISRAEL CLAIMS “SUCCESS” – Al Jazeera reports: Israel has withdrawn its forces from Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital following a two-week operation, leaving behind scenes of devastation.

Al-Shifa, which endured a previous siege in November, now appears to be largely in ruins.

“There is no life here. The complex is in ruins and cannot be revived,” Al Jazeera’s Ismail al Ghoul reports from the site. “From what we can see, it appears the occupation forces deliberately targeted the health sector and destroyed the largest medical complex in Gaza City.”

Israel’s military has described the raid as one of the most successful operations of its war in Gaza, claiming to have killed many Hamas fighters, abducted 900 suspected “militants,” and seized weapons, valuable intelligence, and over $3 million in cash.

The army also insisted that the raid on the hospital had been conducted “while preventing harm to civilians, patients and medical teams”.

Medical sources told Al Jazeera that hundreds of bodies were found inside the complex and in surrounding streets. 

Middle East Eye adds: The World Health Organization said at least 21 patients died during the siege.

At the special surgery unit, one of the newest buildings in the hospital, all that remained was piles of rocks and metal.

Among the units destroyed were the kidney and maternity buildings, the morgues, refrigeration facilities, as well as the outpatient clinics building.

Hospital buildings were set on fire by Israeli forces during the raid, and civil defense teams were not allowed to put them out, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

More from Al Jazeera: “The situation is dire, the medical staff, some of them were killed, others tortured, others detained, and above all, they have been besieged for two weeks without any medical supplies or even food or water,” al-Nims told Al Jazeera, adding, “According to eyewitness accounts and official reports, many of the civilians were executed.”

NOTE: THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE – The Washington Post published an investigation after the November attack on Al Shifa Hospital, noting that the evidence – which Israel described as “extensive [and] irrefutable” – does not prove Israel’s claims that Hamas had been using the hospital as a command and control center. When asked for more proof, an Israeli spokesperson claimed, “We cannot provide additional information.”
It remains to be seen whether Israel will provide any compelling evidence following its recent aggression on the hospital.
Associated Press (November): Israel reveals signs of Hamas activity at Shifa, but a promised command center remains elusive
AFP video (November): Do Israeli images of arms prove Al Shifa Hamas command centre claims? 

POPE REMEMBERS GAZA ON EASTER – Al Jazeera reports: Pope Francis has made renewed calls on Easter for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all captives held in Gaza in a peace-focused address.

Francis presided over Mass in a packed St Peter’s Square, and then delivered his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing and message from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.

“I appeal once again that access to humanitarian aid be ensured to Gaza, and call once more for the prompt release of the hostages seized on last October 7 and for an immediate ceasefire in the Strip,” he said.

“How much suffering we see in the eyes of children, the children have forgotten to smile in those war zones. With their eyes, children ask us: Why? Why all this death? Why all this destruction? War is always an absurdity and a defeat”, he added.

EASTER IN JERUSALEM – Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from occupied East Jerusalem: The Church of Holy Sepulchre in occupied East Jerusalem is nearly empty. Normally, it would be completely packed during Easter all the way to the courtyard.

There would be musical instruments played very loudly in a celebratory atmosphere.

That is not happening, because the Christian community here is showing solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

Tourists have stayed away, but there is still a community who wants to come here: the Palestinian Christians in the occupied West Bank. However, Israelis banned them from visiting on one of the most important days of the year.

MARITIME SHIPMENT OF AID ON ITS WAY TO GAZA – Al Jazeera reports: Three ships set sail earlier today, a World Central Kitchen (WCK) representative has said on board an accompanying boat. The Gaza-bound vessels carry over 400 tons of humanitarian aid, including canned products, flour, rice and dates.

The shipment, the second maritime aid shipment by the WCK to Gaza, is specifically aimed at helping the people living in northern Gaza.

WCK said in a press release that their teams have provided “more than 43 million meals by land, air, and sea to Palestinians facing starvation”.

Palestinians check the damage at a makeshift camp for displaced people in front of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah, Gaza
Palestinians check the damage at a makeshift camp for displaced people in front of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah, Gaza (photo)

JOURNALISTS TARGETED – After the killing of a photojournalist and editor by the Israeli military, Gaza’s Government Media Office says the number of journalists killed since the start of the war has now risen to 137.

Abdel Wahab Awni was killed after the Israeli army bombed his home in the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, the office said in a statement.

Also, Israel’s military claims that its attack on the Al Aqsa Hospital grounds targeted a command center operated by the Islamic Jihad group, while the Government Media Office in Gaza claims it struck a tent of journalists and displaced people.

RAFAH ATTACK PLAN IS READY – Middle East Monitor reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly approved operational plans for an attack on Rafah city in the southernmost Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt.

Netanyahu claims Rafah is the “last stronghold of Hamas” and insists on attacking it despite escalating regional and international warnings of catastrophic consequences for assaulting the city, which is home to approximately 1.4 million Palestinians, the majority of whom have been displaced in the latest six months of intensified Israeli army bombardments.

Netanyahu insists, “We will enter Rafah and eliminate Hamas, and without that, there is no victory…The government is working to evacuate residents before invading Rafah (…) and we will enter the city despite the opposition of US President (Joe) Biden.”

A Palestinian boy walks through the rubble of a building bombed in the Maghazi camp, central Gaza, on March 29
A Palestinian boy walks through the rubble of a building bombed in the Maghazi camp, central Gaza, on March 29 (photo)

LIKE CLOCKWORK, ANOTHER FLOUR MASSACREOnce again, the Israeli forces opened fire on people waiting for aid supplies to be delivered at the Kuwait Roundabout in central Gaza.

Witnesses on the ground described the situation there as completely chaotic.

Israeli forces also targeted members of local and popular tribal committees that are responsible for securing the deliveries of aid supplies. They work for the supplies to be safely distributed among desperate families in need.

NOTE: Israel has killed at least 560 Palestinians and injured 1,523 in similar incidents, the most deadly on February 29, when over 100 were killed and 760 were injured.

Palestinian children sit on a hill next to tents housing the displaced in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 30 March, 2024
Palestinian children sit on a hill next to tents housing the displaced in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 30 March, 2024 (photo)

NETANYAHU SPECULATES ON WORLD’S DEMAND FOR CEASEFIRE – In a news conference Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave his theory about why there is so much international pressure against Israel today and why “the whole world is ganging up on us”.

He acknowledged there are people who believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and said, “It must be ignorance.” He also seems to think antisemitism might be a factor.

Netanyahu encouraged Israelis to “unite in physical and moral defense against accusers” who are armed with lies, hypocrisy and falsehood.

NOTE: Actual antisemitism is not as prevalent as Netanyahu would like to think. Most of the animosity Israel experiences is opposition to Zionism. Zionism is not a benign philosophy, but a racist ideology – the ideology under which Israel dispossessed 750,000 Palestinian people and exiled them to Gaza and other locations. The so-called “demonization” of Israel is in most cases a legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies of occupation, apartheid, and genocide, and other illegal practices.
(An example of the treacherous nature of Zionism is in the following story.)

ZIONISM PLAYS OUT AS LAND THEFT – Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has published a video of himself in the Palestinian locality of Wadi Auja in the occupied West Bank.

Smotrich was there to announce an “unprecedented investment” into the development of more illegal settlements.

He called this “a fitting Zionist response” to a Palestinian attack last week in the Jordan Valley that wounded two Israelis. Smotrich said the Israeli government is surveying the area for expansion, evaluating everything including water resources.

Auja is well known for its bananas, oranges, and vegetables, which are fed by the al Auja spring (Wadi al Auja) that borders the town (see photos).

NOTE: As part of the Zionist vision, Israel has illegally built around 280 settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are home to more than 700,000 illegal settlers. Israeli settlements and settlers on Palestinian land are a violation of international law. Settlers, moreover, have a history of violence against Palestinians, often with the assistance of Israeli military forces.
A view of the Palestinian town of al Auja
A view of the Palestinian town of al Auja (photo)
A view of Wadi Auja, a stream in the occupied Palestinian West Bank
A view of Wadi Auja, a stream in the occupied Palestinian West Bank (photo)

ISRAEL REPORTEDLY THREATENS FAMILIES WHO PROTEST – Zahiro-Shahar Mor, whose uncle is a hostage in Gaza, reveals that the Israeli government has issued a strong warning to families of hostages: ‘Do not raise too much noise; otherwise, your family member could be demoted once a list is compiled.’

HARVARD DIVESTSHarvard Law School’s student government has passed a resolution calling on the university to divest from Israel.

The resolution, passed on Friday in a 12-4 vote with three abstentions, calls on Harvard “to divest completely from weapons manufacturers, firms, academic programs, corporations, and all other institutions that aid the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine and the genocide of Palestinians.”

Two members of the board resigned in protest of the vote, writing in a resignation letter that they “strongly disagree” with the resolution, The Harvard Crimson student newspaper reported.

More news:

Al Jazeera Opinion: Delusions at the United Nations
Electronic Intifada: Not just genocide but deliberate ecological disaster
Andalou Agency: New Palestine government should prepare for legislative, presidential elections: President Abbas
Middle East Monitor: Rafah is Netanyahu’s last fig leaf
Middle East Eye: Western obsession with Netanyahu is misplaced. Most Israelis want war to go on
The New Arab: New Palestinian government, including Gazans and four women, gets wary greeting
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – April 1: at least 33,708* (33,245 in Gaza* (14,280 children, 9,340 women), and at least 463 in the West Bank (117 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 40,042 Palestinian deaths.

At least 41 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank)

At least 31 Palestinians have died due to malnutrition**

About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.

About 2.2 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Crisis, Emergency, or Famine levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – April 1: at least 80,092 (including at least 75,092 in Gaza and 5,000 in the West Bank).

It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties in Gaza.

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – April 1: ~1,407 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~574 were civilians, 373 or 337 were security and/or military forces, ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 255 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 16 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.

NBC reports: “According to the latest available IDF data… nearly 1 in 5, or 17%, of all Israel’s losses have come not at the hands of Hamas but from mishaps on its own side.”

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel on October 7 were caused by Israeli soldiers.

*Previously, IAK did not include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile was being disputed. However, given that much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, Israel had previously bombed the hospital and has attacked many others, Israel is prohibiting outside experts from investigating the scene, and since the UN and other agencies are including the deaths from the attack in their cumulative totals, if Americans knew is now also doing so.

**Euro-Med Monitor reports that Gaza’s elderly are dying at an alarmingly high rate. The majority die at home and are buried either close to their residences or in makeshift graves dispersed across the Strip. There are currently more than 140 such cemeteries. Additionally, according to Euromed, thousands have died from starvation, malnourishment, and inadequate medical care; these are considered indirect victims as they were not registered in hospitals. 

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

For more news, go here and hereBroadcast news from the region is here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

Enter your email address below to receive our latest articles right in your inbox.