Former World Bank president David Malpass has expressed his support for the European Union’s condemnation of Hamas’ use of hospitals and civilians as human shields in the ongoing conflict with Israel.
In a tweet posted on Monday, Malpass said he was glad to see the EU’s stance and called on the United Nations and the World Health Organization to follow suit.
“I am glad to see the European Union condemn Hamas’ reprehensible use of hospitals and civilians as human shields. It is imperative that the @UN and @WHO follow suit — the horrific toll on both medical staff and civilians must be universally condemned,” Malpass wrote.
Malpass’ tweet came after the EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell issued a statement on behalf of the 27 member states, denouncing Hamas’ violation of international law and humanitarian principles. The statement also urged Israel to exercise maximum restraint and targeting to avoid human casualties and called for immediate pauses in hostilities and the establishment of humanitarian corridors to allow aid to reach Gaza.
The EU statement echoed the findings of a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which said that hospitals in Gaza were overwhelmed by the influx of wounded patients and faced severe shortages of medical supplies, electricity and water. The report also said that some hospitals had been damaged by Israeli airstrikes and that medical staff had been killed or injured.
Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, has been accused of using civilian areas, including hospitals, to store and launch rockets, spread propaganda and hide command centers and operatives. Israel has said that it targets only military sites and that Hamas bears responsibility for the civilian casualties.
The conflict, which erupted on October 25, has claimed the lives of more than 200 people, mostly Palestinians, and injured thousands more. Several attempts to broker a cease-fire have failed so far, as both sides have vowed to continue fighting until their demands are met.