The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has received an order from the Israeli army to evacuate its Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City by 1300 GMT on Saturday, amid the ongoing Israeli offensive that has killed more than 2,200 people in the besieged enclave. The PRCS said it cannot comply with the order and it is obliged to continue providing medical services to the sick and wounded, according to a statement.
The Al-Quds hospital, located in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood, is one of the few functioning medical facilities in Gaza, where the health system is on the verge of collapse due to the Israeli bombardment and blockade. The hospital has been treating hundreds of patients and sheltering thousands of displaced civilians who have fled their homes in fear of Israeli attacks.
The PRCS called on world leaders, the United Nations, and the international community to intervene and stop the Israeli decision to evacuate the hospital, which would endanger the lives of patients and staff, as well as violate international humanitarian law. The PRCS also urged Israel to respect the neutrality and inviolability of medical facilities and personnel and to allow the safe passage of ambulances and humanitarian aid.
The Israeli army has not given any reason for its demand to evacuate the hospital, but it has previously accused Hamas of using civilian buildings, including hospitals, schools, and mosques, as launching sites for rockets and missiles. Hamas has denied these allegations and accused Israel of targeting civilians and infrastructure indiscriminately.
The Al-Quds hospital was damaged by Israeli shelling in 2009, during the previous war on Gaza. It was later repaired with the support of France and Qatar. The hospital is named after Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic), which is considered a holy city by both Palestinians and Israelis, and has been a flashpoint of violence and tension in recent weeks.