UAE mission to UN says hospitals in Gaza must be protected

Lana Nusseibeh says Israel telling civilians to evacuate sites in Gaza before striking them is 'cruel and dangerous'

UAE ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh has called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war. The National
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The UAE mission to the UN has condemned the targeting of hospitals by Israel's bombardment of Gaza and criticised Israel's policy of issuing "cruel" and "reckless" evacuation orders before striking civilian infrastructure.

There have been more than 76 attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza, with 20 hospitals and clinics being damaged or destroyed, a UN Security Council meeting on the Gaza-Israel war heard on Monday.

“An evacuation order in these conditions is cruel, it is reckless,” said Lana Nusseibeh, ambassador and permanent representative of the UAE to the UN.

“More than 650,00 people are sheltering in UNRWA facilities. Let me be absolutely clear on this point: these sites are protected by international humanitarian law.

“Announcements that they are targets or warnings for them to evacuate do not, I repeat, do not alter their protected status,” she said, calling for “the rescission of dangerous unrealistic evacuation orders”.

Ms Nusseibeh also condemned the shutdown of phone and internet services at the weekend as part of the Israeli offensive, saying it meant “wounded civilians were searching for help in the dark”.

'Ceasefire now' as 'drums of war beating'

Ms Nusseibeh repeated the UAE's call for a ceasefire in Gaza and called for efforts to be undertaken to ensure humanitarian aid reaches Gaza, with access to electricity, clean water and fuel restored.

“We need a ceasefire in the Gaza war now,” she said, describing the delay in the UN Security Council in calling for a truce as cruel and reckless.

Israel has waged war in Gaza since militant group Hamas launched an attack on Israel on October 7, killing about 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 230 hostages.

More than 8,300 Palestinians have been killed in retaliatory strikes in Gaza since the war began, the enclave's Health Ministry said.

“All of Gaza's civilian population are at risk from the escalating hostilities, as are the Israeli and international hostages taken by Hamas, wrongly taken by Hamas," said Ms Nusseibeh.

“Israeli settlers are escalating their attacks against Palestinian civilians and forcing their displacement. These attacks must be prevented by the state of Israel.”

On Monday in the occupied West Bank, Israel carried out air strikes and fought with militants in the Jenin refugee camp. Hamas said four of its fighters were killed.

As of Sunday, Israeli forces and settlers had killed 123 Palestinians in the West Bank.

Half of those were killed during search-and-arrest operations by Israel, the UN said.

Updated: October 31, 2023, 1:37 PM