Israel’s Hospital Strategy and Human Rights

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Your editorial “The Battle of Al Shifa Hospital” (Nov. 15) describes the special protections hospitals are due during armed conflicts and concludes that Israel met the requirements in its operations around Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital. But wrongful use by one side does not justify abuses by the other, including attacks likely to cause harm to civilians that are disproportionate to any expected military gain.

At the four attacked hospitals that Human Rights Watch closely examined, which did not include Al Shifa, the Israeli government had not provided evidence that justified the mass removal of patients and doctors and the shutdown of already-overwhelmed hospitals. Because of the hostilities, these hospitals lacked water and electricity and had dwindling medical supplies due in part to Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

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