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November 18, 2023

Responding to the one-hour evacuation order of Al-Shifa Hospital by Israeli forces, Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communication Coordinator for ActionAid Palestine, said:

“We are appalled by reports that doctors and critically ill patients – including premature babies in incubators – are being forced out at gunpoint by the Israeli military.  

This morning we have seen chilling scenes of doctors taking patients in critical conditions on beds and wheelchairs out of Al-Shifa Hospital – a death sentence for hundreds of people who will be forced to leave behind lifesaving care and travel miles to hospitals that are no longer operational. 

Day after day, doctors, nurses, and ambulance drivers are risking their lives to provide lifesaving care to patients whose lives are hanging on by a thread.” 

Hospitals across northern Gaza, like Al-Awda Hospital, where ActionAid’s partners work, are already overcrowded, out of fuel, and without the medical supplies they need to keep patients alive. With thousands of women due to give birth over the coming weeks, many will now face life-threatening journeys to hospitals that cannot provide them with lifesaving care. 

ActionAid is warning that the forced shutdown of Al-Shifa Hospital and the failure to provide an alternative for sick and injured civilians could be a breach of international humanitarian law. 

Riham Jafari added:

“The evacuation of Al-Shifa is yet another potential breach of international humanitarian law in a crisis where the rights of patients to access lifesaving care are being violated daily. Healthcare workers, ambulances, and hospitals are never a legitimate target – they must not only be respected but also protected under international law.” 


For media requests, please email or call 704 665 9743.

Spokespeople are available:

  • Meredith Slater, Director of Development for ActionAid USA
  • Riham Jafari, Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication for ActionAid Palestine

About ActionAid  

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty. 

Support Palestinians in crisis

As the human rights of people in the occupied Palestinian territories continue to be abused, women and children are especially at risk. Gaza faces a dire lack of medical facilities, schools, and homes, as so many have been hit by Israeli airstrikes. ActionAid works in communities near the border with Israel that have been most directly affected by the violence. ActionAid's women-led response is supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities.