GENEVA: Attacks on medical facilities are prohibited under international humanitarian law, a UN human rights spokesperson told Anadolu on Saturday on the Israeli order for a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate.
“International humanitarian law requires parties to the conflict to apply, at a minimum and among other requirements, that the wounded and sick must be collected and cared for without discrimination,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“Attacks against medical facilities, medical personnel and the wounded and sick are prohibited,” she stressed.
According to Doctors Without Borders, Israel on Friday first gave Al Awda Hospital in Gaza just two hours to evacuate, then postponed this until 6 a.m. local time (0300GMT).
Following the evacuation order, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged Israel to reverse its evacuation order, saying moving patients would put their lives at risk.
The Israeli army on Friday ordered all residents of northern Gaza to evacuate their homes and head to the south, despite warnings that this would to an international humanitarian disaster.
In a dramatic escalation, a week ago Israeli forces launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip in response to a military offensive by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in Israeli territories.
The conflict began last Saturday when Hamas began Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea and air.
Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.