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Level of Health Care in Gaza Reaches New Lows

Gaza's already fragile health-care system is facing a new crisis spurred by the cutoff of foreign funding to the Hamas-led government and Israel's frequent closures of the cargo crossings, citing security threats. Gaza hospitals are running low on basic drugs and medical supplies.

In the area, all procedures other than essential life-saving surgeries have been cancelled. Patients are being asked to bring their own bandages and soap to hospitals. Cancer patients are having trouble receiving the specialized treatments they need. Israel says Palestinians have themselves to blame for electing what they call a terrorist group to run the government.

Hamas' listing a terrorist group by most Western countries and Israel has led to a suspension of foreign aid and a block on international banking and money transfers.

Israeli and U.S. officials say that Hamas needs to recognize the Jewish state's right to exist, renounce violence and honor signed agreements. Health care in the region is expected to be a major focus in Brussels Tuesday, when officials with the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia meet to discuss resuming some humanitarian aid to the Palestinians while still trying to bypass the Hamas-led government.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.