Geneva - An independent international investigation committee must be established to look into the deaths of five newborn Palestinian children, said Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, left on their own after medical staff were forcibly evacuated by the Israeli army from Al-Nasr Hospital for Children in Gaza.

According to Euro-Med Monitor’s documentation, the five infants were abandoned for three weeks before being found dead. Their bodies were discovered in a decomposing state in the Al-Nasr Hospital nursery, in what may amount to a horrifying execution and a crime against humanity.

The hospital’s director, Dr. Mustafa Al-Kahlot, told Euro-Med Monitor that he had tried to save the lives of the five children before it was too late by requesting help from international organisations including the Red Cross, but he never received a response. Al-Kahlot said that he told an Israeli army officer about the five children’s need for respirators and how they could not be moved elsewhere, and the army’s response was that it was aware of the situation and would take appropriate action.

In an earlier testimony, Dr. Mona Yousef told Euro-Med Monitor of her forced evacuation of the hospital’s remaining patients and staff, some of whom were critically ill, towards the southern Gaza Valley displacement area on 10 November. She stated that the hospital had been repeatedly targeted by gunfire and artillery attacks, as well as surrounded by Israeli military vehicles.

According to the testimony of the doctor and other hospital officials, they were forced to leave two children in a care unit, two in foster care, and a fifth child with Edwards’ syndrome (trisomy 18) with an orphan girl whose entire family was killed. The Israeli officer affirmed in a phone conversation with the hospital director that all of the remaining infants were rescued and transferred to safety. However, the children left behind during the mandatory evacuation were not actually safe at all.

Euro-Med Monitor emphasized that there was nothing that could have been done to save their lives during the evacuation, as patients and staff were forced to leave against their will, and transferring the vulnerable newborns to another accredited medical facility would have had to been done by the Israeli army—something that never happened. Instead, the infants were abandoned on the machines, and left to die in silence.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor demanded that the Israeli army be held accountable for the incident and that the Red Cross should also be held responsible for suspicions of negligence in responding to calls to save the lives of children and patients in Gaza. The Geneva-based organisation stressed the importance of ending the Israeli evasion of its obligations to protect civilians, ending the siege or targeting of medical facilities, and directly causing mass killings including newborn children.