Ramallah, December 18, 2023—Israeli forces killed a 12-year-old Palestinian girl in an attack targeting a hospital yesterday in the southern Gaza Strip.
12-year-old Dunia Abu Mohsen was recovering from losing her leg in an Israeli airstrike that killed her parents and siblings in Naser Hospital in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, when an Israeli tank-fired shell hit the hospital and struck her in the head the evening of December 17. The tank shell, which did not explode, injured several other Palestinians.
Dunia lost her leg in an Israeli airstrike on October 27 that struck her relatives’ home in the Al-Amal neighborhood of Khan Younis, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Six of her family members were killed in the airstrike, including her parents and two of her siblings.
“I want someone to take me abroad, to any country, to install a prosthetic leg, to be able to walk like other people,” Dunia told DCIP in a video that was filmed on November 25 during the seven-day truce agreement between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups.
“I want to become a doctor, like those who treat us, so that I can treat other children,” Dunia said. “I only want one thing: For the war to end.”
More than 7,870 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since October 7, according to the Governmental Media Office. Thousands more are missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings, most of whom are presumed dead. The death toll is rising rapidly as Israeli authorities cut Palestinians in Gaza off from food, clean water, fuel, electricity, and vital medicines.
Israeli forces have systematically targeted Gaza’s health system since launching a massive military offensive on October 7, depriving hospitals of fuel, electricity, and medicines and targeting many hospitals with airstrikes, shelling, live ammunition, and other attacks on patients and health care workers. Only eight of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are currently functional and services are extremely limited, according to UN OCHA.
Israeli forces besieged Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza for four days, withdrawing on December 16, during which Israeli forces detained around 90 Palestinians and destroyed several parts of the hospital. Israeli military bulldozers crushed around 20 displaced Palestinians seeking shelter in tents in the hospital courtyard, according to Al Jazeera.
Under international law, genocide is prohibited and constitutes the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group, in whole or in part. Genocide can result from killing or by creating conditions of life that are so unbearable it brings about the group’s destruction.
International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. Deploying explosive weapons in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes indiscriminate attacks and carrying out direct attacks against civilians or civilian objects amounts to war crimes.
Israeli authorities have imposed a closure policy against the Gaza Strip since 2007 by strictly controlling and limiting the entry and exit of individuals; maintaining harsh restrictions on imports including food, construction materials, fuel, and other essential items; as well as prohibiting exports. Israel continues to maintain complete control over the Gaza Strip’s borders, airspace, and territorial waters.