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Israel Is Blocking All Aid From Gaza, Risking Shutdown of Remaining Hospitals

All life-sustaining systems in Gaza are under threat of collapse due to Israel’s blockade.

Palestinians sit in the back of a truck with their packed belongings as they depart from the eastern neighborhoods of the city due to ongoing Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza, on May 8, 2024.

With its takeover of the Rafah border crossing on Gaza’s Egyptian border, Israel is now blocking all forms of aid from entering Gaza, threatening countless Palestinian lives with the escalation of its starvation campaign and putting all hospitals that Israeli forces haven’t totally decimated at risk of shutdown in the coming days.

On Sunday, Israel shut down the two main entry points for humanitarian aid into Gaza and seized control of the Rafah crossing, where most aid has been passing through. This threatens to collapse the entire humanitarian aid system in Gaza — the only remaining lifeline for Palestinians facing mass dehydration, forced famine, disease, displacement and lack of shelter, on top of constant bombardment.

“We’re not receiving any aid into the Gaza Strip, the Rafah crossing area has ongoing military operations — there have been continued bombardments in this area throughout the day,” said Scott Anderson, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) deputy director of operations. “No fuel or aid has entered into Gaza Strip and this is disastrous for the humanitarian response.”

All life-sustaining systems in Gaza are now under threat of collapse due to Israel’s blockade.

Israel had already slowed aid to a mere trickle prior to its invasion of Rafah, severely hampering aid distribution and hospitals’ ability to operate. Now, with no aid entering, humanitarian groups are saying the entire aid operation will soon be forced to shut down.

“The closure of the border crossing continues to prevent the UN from bringing fuel. Without fuel all humanitarian operations will stop,” said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Without humanitarian aid distribution, Palestinians will be cut off from accessing food, water and medicine. Israel has already destroyed the majority of housing in Gaza, and there will be no more tents for people given just hours to flee. Hundreds of thousands will languish and die — if not due to starvation or dehydration, then due to any of the other myriad death traps that Israel has laid in Gaza.

Aid groups have warned that hospitals in the region have only two to three days of fuel left to operate — on top of aid groups already having to reduce operations to conserve resources.

“We were expecting to have fuel delivered today. We don’t have it,” World Health Organization spokesperson Margaret Harris told Al Jazeera, noting that the entry of supplies has “stopped completely.”

“So we’ve had to suspend some of our activities to the north because we want to reserve that fuel for the hospitals to ensure that they can continue their life-saving work,” she went on.

“We, as humans, must not let this continue. Please, please have a ceasefire now,” she said.

Al-Najjar Hospital, the largest hospital in Rafah, has already been forced to shut down due to what appears to be a deliberate targeting of the hospital by Israeli forces. Physician Marwan al-Hams told Reuters that Israel situated the battlefield with Al-Najjar at the center, making threats that forced staff and patients to flee the hospital.

Multiple aid groups have confirmed the shutdown of Al-Najjar due to the evacuation.

“This means Rafah’s already overstretched and underresourced health system is now left with only Kuwaiti Hospital, which is an NGO hospital with around [a] 16-bed capacity; Marwani field hospital, which is only a trauma stabilisation point; and Al-Emirati Hospital, which is only a maternity hospital,” said Medical Aid for Palestine.

Al-Najjar is also home to the only dialysis unit in Gaza, which has around 200 patients who will die if the center is forced to shut down. As of Tuesday, the dialysis center is still open, but is at imminent risk of closure, Harris said.

The main maternity hospital in Rafah has had to stop admitting patients, according to the United Nations Population Fund. The hospital was handling 85 out of 180 births occurring per day in Gaza prior to October.

As Israel is besieging Rafah, unleashing more horrors on Palestinians, the extent of the damage of Israel’s previous incursions is being steadily uncovered. On Tuesday, another mass grave was uncovered at Al-Shifa Hospital with at least 50 bodies, bringing the total of bodies uncovered in mass graves in Al-Shifa and Nasser Hospital in the past weeks to 520. Some of the latest bodies uncovered were beheaded, and there is evidence that others were buried alive.

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