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Two hospitals in Southern Gaza are struggling to function effectively.

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Two hospitals in Southern Gaza are barely functioning after an Israeli raid last week severely impacted their ability to provide much-needed medical care to those in need. The raid left one of Gaza’s largest hospitals, Nasser Medical Complex, largely deserted, with only a small number of medical staff and patients remaining. Meanwhile, another hospital in the same city, Khan Younis, is running critically low on food and fuel supplies after enduring a siege that has lasted almost a month.

The Israeli military claims that it targeted the hospitals to root out Hamas activity, alleging that the medical centers were being used to hide military operations. These accusations have been made about multiple hospitals in Gaza, with Israel backing up some of the claims with evidence of Hamas tunnels. However, Hamas and health officials have vehemently denied these charges, with aid groups calling on Israel to respect international laws protecting hospitals from attack.

The Nasser Medical Complex, which is Gaza’s second-largest hospital, has been the target of recent Israeli military action. Israeli troops raided the hospital, detaining hundreds of people, including some who were allegedly involved in an attack on Israel by Hamas. Following the raid, thousands of displaced Palestinians sheltering in the hospital were evacuated. Only 15 health care workers remain to take care of over 150 patients, with rapidly diminishing supplies of food, oxygen, and medical equipment, as well as no tap water and electricity except for a backup generator. The World Health Organization declared that Nasser Medical Complex is no longer functional, and the Gaza health ministry reported that eight patients had died at the hospital due to lack of oxygen. Furthermore, Israeli forces have arrested 70 medical personnel, including the director of surgery, at the hospital.

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The situation is similarly dire at Al-Amal hospital in Khan Younis, which has been under siege for 28 days. Food supplies are nearly exhausted, and the fuel powering lifesaving equipment is running low. The hospital has been repeatedly attacked and shelled by Israeli forces, and 12 medical and administrative staff members have been arrested. The hospital’s water desalination station was disabled by Israeli troops, leaving it with less than three days’ supply of drinking water for around 180 people inside, including patients, medical staff, and displaced individuals.

The hazardous conditions at Al-Amal hospital have been captured in videos posted on social media, showing healthcare workers moving through darkened hallways with flashlights, and heartbreaking accounts of the siege by staff members. The Red Crescent, an aid organization, has made multiple unsuccessful attempts to secure safe passage from Israeli forces to deliver essential supplies to the hospital. The state of these two hospitals has exacerbated an already dire situation in Gaza, with the territory’s health system on the brink of collapse due to repeated attacks on medical facilities by Israeli forces.

The dire situation at these hospitals in Southern Gaza highlights the urgent need for international intervention to ensure the protection of medical facilities and the delivery of critical supplies to ensure the health and safety of those in need. It is essential that all parties involved respect international laws protecting hospitals from attack and ensure the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. The international community and relevant organizations must take urgent action to address the crisis unfolding in Southern Gaza.

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Chats and reflections on the present moment.

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Lydia Polgreen

Credit…Will Heath/NBC, via Getty Images

It is a rare thing in our rapidly secularizing country to be confronted with piety and devotion in popular culture. So it was a surprise, and a balm, to watch a man who prays daily and talks openly about his devout faith storm a bastion of earthly godlessness: “Saturday Night Live.”

I am referring, of course, to the comedian Ramy Youssef, who hosted the show on what he described in his opening monologue as “an incredibly spiritual weekend,” noting Ramadan, Easter and the arrival of a new Beyoncé album.

“I’m doing the Ramadan one,” he quipped, to peals of laughter, unspooling a very funny bit about how loving Muslims are. Youssef has mined his experience as a believer among the profane in gentle standup specials and a namesake sitcom. His entire monologue glowed with a welcoming warmth — Muslims, he seemed to say: We’re just like you.

In a country that is supposedly obsessed with diversity and inclusion, it is remarkable how rare it is to hear from a practicing Muslim in America.

Surveys by the Institute for Policy and Understanding, a nonpartisan research organization focused on Muslim Americans, have consistently found that Muslims are the most likely group to report religious discrimination in the United States. According to a Pew survey conducted in 2021, 78 percent of Americans said that there was either a lot or some discrimination against Muslims in our society. Muslims are no more likely to commit crimes than members of any other group, but crimes in which Muslims are suspects get outsized media coverage, research has shown.

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It is no surprise, then, that Islamophobia is perhaps the most tolerated form of religious prejudice. Right now, Senate Republicans appear to have persuaded several Senate Democrats to vote against a Muslim judicial nominee after smearing him, with no evidence at all, as an antisemite.

Many of the skits that toyed with religion on “S.N.L.” on Saturday were funny — Ozempic for Ramadan! Genius. But part of me winced through them as well, because I saw in Youssef something that other members of minority groups have had to do to “earn” their place in the safety of the mainstream: the performance of normalcy, of being nonthreatening and sweet, the requirement to prove that your community belongs in America just like everyone else’s.

I loved Youssef’s monologue, in which he bravely pleaded, “Please, free the people of Palestine. And please, free the hostages. All of the hostages.”

“I am out of ideas,” Youssef declared toward the end of his monologue. “All I have is prayers.”

To which this nonbeliever can only say: Same, Ramy. Same.

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