The 350 bed Ziv Hospital in the northern Galilee city of Safed was hit by a Hizbollah rocket on 18 July, causing a quarter of its windows to be smashed and wounding eight people, including one doctor. The Israeli health minister, Ya'acov Ben-Yizri, ordered the fortification of all oxygen tanks in northern hospitals, as a direct hit would have disastrous consequences.
As a result of the rocket attacks hospitals have taken in more than 400 wounded Israeli civilians. Hizbollah's rockets, which can fire a distance of up to 100 km, have reached an area stretching from Haifa on the Mediterranean to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. An estimated 180 rockets a day are being fired.
In the last two weeks 17 civilians have been killed by rockets and 1490 people have been admitted to hospitals in the north. Of these people 970 were not physically hurt but had anxiety attacks.
Hadas Ziv, executive director of Israel's Physicians for Human Rights, an organisation with 1200 Jewish and Palestinian members, condemned Hizbollah's action but also criticised Israel's reaction.
“The Hizbollah are war criminals,” she said. “There is no justification for what the Hizbollah have done: abducting soldiers from Israeli territory without provocation and killing and endangering civilians with missile attacks.
“But I think Israel's military reaction, at least according to massive damage to civilian facilities and to non-combatant residents, was exaggerated and that the army is not doing enough to avoid harm to the infrastructure and civilian population. The current bloody conflict on the northern border between Israel and Hizbollah has resulted in the loss of many innocent lives on both sides and damaged thousands of people. As men and women in the medical field, it is our responsibility to warn against the continuing physical and mental damaged inflicted upon the civilian populations and call for the immediate cessation of violence in our area.”
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