.- The latest reports coming out of the Gaza Strip indicate that medical personnel are having difficulty reaching the wounded and that the collapse of the medical system is imminent. Church officials are calling for a cease fire to treat the wounded.
According to Caritas Internationalis, a network of 162 aid agencies which helps provide primary medical services in Gaza, its efforts to help the wounded are being severely hampered by the war.
Caritas’ president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, has issued a call for an immediate cease fire, saying, “Caritas and our Catholic Church partners in the Holy Land call for an immediate ceasefire to enable the sick and wounded to be treated. Innocent people are suffering because aid agencies cannot reach them due to the Israeli military action.
“Caritas calls for action from the USA, the EU, and the international community on pressing for an immediate ceasefire to create the necessary environment in Gaza for aid agencies to be able to care for the wounded. War cannot be justified by either Israel or Hamas. Arguments over proportionality are morally repugnant when we are talking about the lives of innocent children.”
The latest figures show 87 Palestinian children have been killed in the Israeli attacks.
Caritas’ Jerusalem Secretary-General Claudette Habesch offered more details about developments on the ground. “Our staff in Gaza are witnessing a collapse of medical services. People are dying in their homes because they can’t get treatment. There are 2,053 hospitals bed sin Gaza and 2,500 people wounded by the Israeli bombardment. Doctors say they lack bandages and antiseptic.”
The Israeli offensive against Gaza began after the Palestinian region’s ruling Hamas party made continuous rocket attacks on southern Israel, citing Israeli raids and blockades.
Israeli tanks, planes, and ground forces continued their attacks Sunday night. According to Reuters, at least 541 people have died in the 10-day offensive.
Israel had occupied the Palestinian enclave in Gaza from 1967 to 2005.