Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds in Rafah as Medical Aid Blocked Amid Israeli Military Operation: PRC Raises Alarm

Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds in Rafah as Medical Aid Blocked Amid Israeli Military Operation: PRC Raises Alarm

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London is deeply concerned by the obstruction of medical services in Rafah due to Israel's operation in the southern Gaza city, with most services suspended and medical teams blocked.

Israel carried out airstrikes in Rafah on Monday and ordered Palestinians to evacuate parts of the city where more than a million people uprooted by the seven-month war have been crowded together, often in filthy conditions that have contributed to the spread of many disease.

PRC strongly condemns the start of operations by Israeli armed forces in the city of Rafah which could compromise ongoing ceasefire efforts.

Israel has chosen to deliberately intensify the conflict in an area known to have a high concentration of the civilian population, disregarding calls from the international community, including its closest allies to deescalate tensions.

With most of Gaza's hospitals shut, medics and paramedics have been giving basic health services to displaced people in substandard makeshift tents, amid famine warnings and disease spread.

But as more people flee and violence continues in the area, such services will be forced to suspend indefinitely – cutting thousands off from lifesaving food, medicine, and other aid.

A Project HOPE spokesperson told Reuters that a team of four doctors including two surgeons, an emergency medicine doctor and an anesthesiologist was denied entry at the Rafah crossing, together with their medical supplies and equipment.

Another humanitarian aid group, MedGlobal, said in a statement it had scrapped a medical mission set to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing on Monday due to security reasons. The World Health Organization has previously voiced concern that an Israeli operation on Rafah would close the Egypt-Gaza crossing which is currently being used to import medical supplies.

The international community and UN bodies should urgently work to stop any further assault on Rafah from going ahead and prevent the slaughter of civilians and destruction of buildings.

The world governments should also work to demand an immediate lasting ceasefire and suspend arms sales to Israel for as long as they are used to violate international humanitarian law and massacre civilians.

Civilians’ access to vital services and life-saving food and medicines should be secured unconditionally to prevent such a catastrophic humanitarian situation from spiraling into an unprecedented tragedy in human history and regional and international tension from reaching a point of no return.

Israel must be held accountable for its genocide and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, carried out in blatant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, at a time when Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice.

Rafah is home to more than 1.5 million displaced Palestinians who have taken refuge from the war launched by Israel following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that killed nearly 1,200 people.

Since then, the Israeli onslaught has killed more than 34,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children, besides causing a humanitarian catastrophe.

Nearly seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

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