Gaza healthcare services on brink of collapse: WHO plus UN rights boss doubts legality of Israel’s Gaza offensive

Israelis prepare to enter a bomb shelter as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets in the southern city of Ashkelon July 9, 2014

(Reuters) – Health services in the occupied Palestinian territory are on the brink of collapse amid severe shortages in medicines and fuel for hospital generators, as the Gaza conflict with Israel deepens, the World Health Organization warned on Thursday.

WHO appealed to donors for $40 million for essential healthcare supplies through year-end and a further $20 million towards the debt owed by the health ministry to East Jerusalem hospitals receiving cancer patients from Gaza and the West Bank.

“The recent escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip raises concern about the ability of the government and the Ministry of Health of the occupied Palestinian territory to cope with the increased burden of medical emergencies on the health system, given the high levels of shortages of medicines, medical disposables and hospital fuel supplies, and rising healthcare debt,” WHO said in a statement.

At least 78 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in Israel’s Gaza offensive, Palestinian officials said on Thursday, as militants in the enclave kept up rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities…

Related: U.N. rights boss doubts legality of Israel’s Gaza offensive: (Reuters) – The United Nations human rights chief on Friday voiced serious doubts that Israeli’s military operation against Gaza complied with international law banning the targeting of civilians, and called on both sides to respect the rules of war.

International law requires Israel to take all measures to ensure that its attacks are proportional, distinguish between military and civilian objects, and avoid civilian casualties, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.

“We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes. Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” Pillay said in a statement…

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But who started the whole thing, and is continuing it by firing more rockets?  Hamas should not be allowed to get away with this “victim image.”  The second story is the top story at The Guardian (big surprise).