ELEGY for al-Shifa Hospital

ELEGY for al-Shifa Hospital


The second deadly raid on the hospital began on March 18 and ended with the total destruction of the main Gazan hospital on April 1, 2024


Dar al-Shifa, which means “house of healing” in Arabic (Wikipedia)


Six months into the war only 10 out of the 36 Main hospitals in Gaza are still partially operational according to the WHO…”

Al-Shifa Hospital in ruins (Al Jazeera – 7 April. 2024)




The second deadly raid on the hospital began on March 18 and ended with the total destruction of the main Gazan hospital on April 1, 2024. Along with the many patients the hospital was helping, there was also about 3000 Palestinians displaced by the Israeli military in its killing spree across the Strip sheltering there. There are copious statements from the IDF on its reasons to repeatedly assault one of the major health centers in Gaza. The difficulty now is that the self-serving-propaganda issuing from both the Israeli military and its right wing leadership in the Knesset has been constantly and widely discredited, often as being totally fabricated and now hardly believable.


After 2 deadly weeks the IDF withdrew leaving only ruins that have been well documented. The two weeks are now coming to be seen as a torture and killing spree by the well-armed soldiers against both patients, doctors and staff of the hospital as well as others seeking refuge there; that is, those who, in the IDF statements, appear to be all Hamas militants, armed and dangerous.


Hamas sources claimed Israelis had killed 400 Palestinians inside and around the Al-Shifa complex and a Palestinian Red Crescent Society spokesperson claimed on Al Jazeera, that civilians and medical staff had been executed by Israeli soldiers.”


United Nations special rapporteurs Tlaleng Mofokeng and Francesca Albanese statement – April 3:


The extent of the atrocity is still unable to be fully documented due to its scale and gravity – and clearly represents the most horrific assault on Gaza’s hospitals. The besieging and destruction of a hospital and the killing of health workers, the sick and wounded, and the people who protect them, is prohibited by international law.


“At this point, we are no longer discussing availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health care received in dignity, but the annihilation of any infrastructure capable of providing basic first aid. The deliberate destruction of health infrastructure in Gaza has created conditions calculated to destroy the distressed and traumatized population.”


“A WHO spokesperson stated on 1 April 2024 that 21 patients had died during the operation and 107 patients remained inside the complex lacking essential supplies and medical support. According to army statements…”

Source – wikipedia.org – Al-Shifa Hospital


ELEGY – for al-Shifa Hospital



Dread rains on my roof with

its pictures of death and destruction.

Sorrow and her sister, terror, come visit

with their shrill symphonies of pain.

Famine looms, disease outbreaks spread

and trauma injuries increase”  the

noisy radios boast.


i tried reason with the pictures.

Tried turn the sound right down on the radio.

Tried to pull the plug from the wall, bury

my head in the sand, tried it all.


Tried to pry their heartless hands from

strangling my throat


“…some of the victims had their hands tied and they were buried alive and others according to eyewitness accounts were crushed with tanks and what appears to be an attempt to cover up evidence…”


In my mind these killers still crawl on

all their technological-fours along the hospital

corridors of Dar al-Shifa / The House of Healing

– where no one may ever heal again.


This House now of Horror.

A House of Cruelty

“an empty shell with human graves” (WHO)

…the TV tells me


“…the most agonizing moment is when the Israeli soldiers shot dead civilian men before our own eyes… some were shot dead others were buried alive in ditches… most of the dead bodies were bulldozed and buried by the Israelis…”


Here is a place where the sick go visit death

instead of a physician.

Here where American and German bullets

make their rounds instead of doctors.

Here where the smell of decomposition makes

its murderous march among the wounded and the weak.


“I saw many young men handcuffed and blindfolded thrown in a ditch and buried with sand we witnessed it all it happened before our own eyes…”


In this House of Healing

in this unholy house

in this universe where all “lives are hanging by a thread”

where “there’s a smell of  sewage and of the rotting bodies all round…”

 (Dr. Mohammed Abu Afash,  Director of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society).


The smell of atrocity, barbarous, inhumane.

The smell of blood, cold blooded, brutal, inhuman.

The smell of destruction, harsh, ferocious, fierce.

A smell merciless and murderous, violent, relentless,

ruthless and unrelenting, in the House of Healing


when the soldiers came

these wordless pitiless Zionist assassins,

patriotic, rabid, and remorseless.



Now all i see is silence strangled.

All i can hear is the life that fled.

There is no healing left in this wretched world.

All goodness has fled like a refugee

in front of this firestorm.


Nor are there are now

“ventilation systems, patient-handling systems, operating tables, beds, trolleys, other types of medical equipment.”

There’s no longer medicine nor healing, no

“laparotomies, orthopaedic fixations, craniotomies, thoracotomies/airway interventions, vascular procedures, no longer “amputations, debridements…”


Nothing left for the lungs to boast of

the heart to be happy with

the head to make philosophy from

the arms and the body to embrace

the mind to make music from.


Even the skill and simple wonder

of a shrapnel extraction from a wounded child

has hidden its wings beneath the wreckage

or flown away with the doctors’ dreams,

the nurses nightmares


here where the execution of patients and doctors

is no longer a secret.

“…Many of the medical staff were detained… some were released

and some were executed…(Dr. Mohammed Abu Afash).


Torture itself now wears a white coat with

its bloody Star of David!


So listen:

This is not a cheap American movie.


This is not the sly serenade of propaganda

nor the subtle TV’s lies.

This is not the shrewd handshake of a politician.

This is not a time for you to close your eyes.


Instead let us pray to these Healing Ruins

and all the bodies buried beneath them,

let us pray to the angels that seek shelter

above and below them


not to the god that destroyed them

the god of revenge

the god of the crazy people

the one that feasts on

the stench of corpse. And death. And decomposition.



Later i tried pull the hands from my throat.

Tried take the pictures

from the nightmare they belonged to.

My dreams came to tell me

“we can’t take any more”.


“Go tell the savage soldiers that”,

i said in reply

only to the silence now Al-Shifa

sits in ruins


sits with the sound of the sick

still singing in among the rubble

crying for peace or

calling for revenge,

who knows?


Or better still

crying for a place and a time

when these mindless butchers

in army fatigues and with their

faceless goggles on fire

with their bulletproof minds and

their pornography of war



no longer

find a welcome

in our hearts or

in our minds or

in our homes

and where once

were only the sick,

the suffering and

the dying


now, pray, sinner,

that no longer

this human disease

will stalk

any hospital corridor

ever again.


séamas carraher

7-12 april 2024



Al-Shifa Hospital ‘an empty shell with human graves’: WHO

Al Jazeera – 7 April, 2024 (“Fair-Use”)



Taken from survivors of the attack on the hospital as well as Dr. Mohammed Abu Afash (the Director of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society) interviewed on his visit to the site of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

He says what he witnessed, amounts to war crimes”.

“Some of the victims had their hands tied and they were buried alive…”

 From the rubble of Gaza’s once biggest hospital, there are witness accounts

Al Jazeera – April 1, 2024



Al-Shifa Hospital ‘an empty shell with human graves’: WHO

April 6, 2024 – “WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the UN agency and other partner organisations have managed to reach the medical complex in Gaza City following Israel’s deadly two-week siege. “The team witnessed at least five dead bodies during the mission. Most of the buildings in the hospital complex are extensively destroyed and the majority of assets are damaged or reduced to ashes. Even restoring minimal functionality in the short term seems implausible,” he said in a post on X. “An in-depth assessment by a team of engineers is needed to determine if the remaining buildings are safe for future use. WHO and partners’ recent effort to support the revival of basic services at al-Shifa are now lost, and people are once again deprived of access to lifesaving health care services.””

Al Jazeera – April 7, 2024


In my mind these killers still crawl

on all their technological fours

IDF – List of Equipment


Al-Shifa Hospital – LINKS

Al-Shifa’s legacy destroyed

Al Jazeera – April 1, 2024


WHO says Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital a death zone, as hundreds leave

BBC – 19 November, 2023


Al-Shifa Hospital – 1946-2024


Wikipedia – Al-Shifa Hospital Siege


Wikipedia – Al-Shifa Ambulance Strike


The Intercept – Al-Shifa Hospital / Hamas


Wikipedia – Alleged use of Al-Shifa Hospital


Gaza – Book (2018)

“A 2012 UN REPORT POSED the poignant question, Will Gaza be a “liveable place” in 2020? Its response, based on current trends, was just barely…” Norman Finkelstein.

Norman Finkelstein – Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom



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