'Significant Number' Of People Killed In Shelling Of UN's Gaza City Facility

Fighting expands to West Bank as Gaza toll tops 11,000; Israel rejects ceasefire calls of France; OIC rejects forced displacement of Palestinians

'Significant Number' Of People Killed In Shelling Of UN's Gaza City Facility

The United Nations on Sunday said that a "significant number" of people were reportedly killed and wounded when their facility in Gaza City was shelled as fighting rages between Israeli troops and Hamas resistance in the narrow strip.

In a statement, the United Nations Development Programme, said that many people were using the facility as a shelter. Public buildings such as schools, hospitals and UN facilities were used as shelters by people displaced after their homes were demolished.

The UN statement came shortly after the World Health Organisation said it had lost all contact with Al Shifa Hospital in Northern Gaza. The hospital is deemed to house a major Hamas command centre under it by Israeli forces, which encircled it on Saturday and forced all occupants to flee. Doctors who left Al Shifa said they had to leave 500 critical patients who could not be moved and that the hospital no longer had power or oxygen.

Al Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza, saw its cardiac ward destroyed in Israeli air strikes, a Hamas health official said.

It follows strikes on other health centres around northern and western Gaza, including one strike on the Mahdi Maternity Hospital and the Al-Awda Hospital.

Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres), in a profound statement on Sunday, said that hospitals in Gaza were in danger of turning into morgues unless a ceasefire is implemented urgently to evacuate patients to operational medical facilities.

"If action isn't taken right now, if we do not stop this bloodshed immediately with a ceasefire or at the [bare] minimum a medical evacuation of patients, these hospitals will become a morgue," said Doctors Without Borders.

"The relentless killings, destruction of essential infrastructure and withholding of items including water and medicines essential for survival amount to brazen and repeated violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL)," it said, adding that the IHL remains the clearest expression of our global agreement to preserve a space for humanity in war. For governments committed to this principle and legal framework, including Canada, now is the time to defend it wholeheartedly and unequivocally.

So far, according to health authorities, over 11,000 people have been killed in hostilities in Gaza, including 4,500 children. Another 155 have been killed in the West Bank.

Expanding violence

Meanwhile, health authorities said that a strike on a house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip left at least 13 people dead.

Earlier, the Israeli forces marched into the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, where clashes left at least 13 dead, the deadliest clash since 2005.

The Israeli forces also cut off power to Jenin while reinforced bulldozers, along with military vehicles, drove into Jenin. At least one young Palestinian was reportedly killed in the clash between Israeli forces and local resistance.

No ceasefire 

Israel, meanwhile, has rejected calls from both Western nations and the Islamic countries for an immediate ceasefire.

Reacting primarily to a call for a ceasefire from French President Emmanuel Macron, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said that a ceasefire would be equivalent to surrendering and reiterated his resolve to continue.

He also ruled out a role for the Palestinian Authority in Gaza henceforth, a low-key announcement of plans to annex Gaza.

OIC warns conflict could spread

Meanwhile, a joint meeting of the Arab League summit and Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) - the main body representing all Islamic countries, rejected Israel's claims that its current campaign was one of "self-defence" and called for an immediate ceasefire. It also warned that there was a real danger that the war could expand if Israel continues to refuse to stop its aggression and the Security Council fails to enforce international law against the aggression.

"Fully and absolutely reject, along with collectively opposing, any attempts at individual or mass forced displacement, deportation, or exile of the Palestinian people whether within the Gaza Strip, the West Bank including Al-Quds (Jerusalem), or outside their territories to any destination, considering it a red line and a war crime," the summit decided in a resolution.

It further called for breaking the siege on Gaza and imposing the immediate entry of Arab, Islamic and international humanitarian aid convoys, including food, medicine and fuel, into the Gaza Strip.

It also called on all those countries arming Israel to stop.

"Condemn the double standards in applying international law; warn that this duality seriously undermines both the credibility of countries shielding Israel from international law and placing it above the law, as well as the credibility of multilateral action, exposing the selectivity in applying the system of humanitarian values; and emphasize that the positions of Arab and Islamic countries will be affected by such double standards that lead to a rift between civilizations and cultures."

They also emphasised the necessity of releasing all prisoners and civilians to condemn the heinous crimes committed by the colonial occupation authorities against thousands of Palestinian prisoners.


Meanwhile, large rallies were held in London, UK, Paris, Marseille and other French cities on Saturday and Sunday.