The world was left in shock this week following an explosion at a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of people. The exact cause of the blast remains unknown, and both Israeli and Palestinian authorities have been quick to point fingers at one another in an effort to assign blame.
The explosion occurred in an area already amidst a deep crisis–the Gaza Strip, a narrow enclave of 2.3 million people living under strict military rule imposed by Israel. The area has long been subject to frequent conflicts between the two sides, and this latest event is likely to make the crisis even more difficult to manage. In response to the disaster, Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, cancelled an upcoming summit that his country was slated to host. Meanwhile, Palestinian security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to scatter protesters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, as citizens expressed their outrage at the attack. There has been a wave of criticism throughout the Arab world, prompting protests near Israel’s embassies in several cities.
US President Joe Biden also issued a statement expressing his strong sense of outrage and deep sorrow in response to the explosion. The World Health Organisation (WHO) condemned the deadly strike and demanded immediate protection of civilians and health care in the strip. Hezbollah also strongly criticised what it described as Israel’s lethal assault on the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital. It remains to be seen who will ultimately be held accountable for this devastating event. However, one thing is certain: irrespective of who is found responsible, it is bound to make the situation in Gaza even more unstable and complex than it already is. It is up to all nations involved to come together and ensure that such a disaster never happens again.