UAE building a 150-bed field hospital in Gaza
Trucks with humanitarian aid arrive at the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, Oct. 21, 2023. Photo: Atia Mohammed/Flash90

Abu Dhabi sent the equipment needed to set up the medical center to Sinai.

JNS Staff Report
November 12, 2023

The United Arab Emirates intends to build a field hospital in the Gaza Strip.

According to the official Emirates News Agency, aka WAM, Abu Dhabi has sent a total of 16 cargo planes to El-Arish Airport in North Sinai with the equipment intended to enter Gaza via the Rafah Crossing to assemble the field hospital.

The air bridge was established to “transport the hospital’s equipment as part of the UAE‘s Gallant Knight 3 humanitarian operation in line with the country’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and support the health system in the Gaza Strip, which is facing exceptional and critical circumstances,” WAM reported.

At 150 beds, the field hospital will include departments for general surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics and gynecology as well as anesthesia and intensive care units for adults and children. It will also have clinics for internal medicine, dentistry, psychiatry and family medicine. CT imaging, a lab and a pharmacy will also be available.

“This is the first Arab project in the Gaza Strip that is independent of Hamas. The hospital would be a good rehearsal for a post-Hamas government in Gaza and its management,” Hussain Abdul-Hussain, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said.

The field hospital is being built with the approval of Israel, which established diplomatic relations with the UAE in 2020 as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords.

Egypt is also building a field hospital for injured Gazans some nine miles from the border in Egyptian territory. Jordan air-dropped medical supplies into Gaza, in coordination with Israel, to its already-established field hospital.

“There’s an untold story emerging of Israeli-Arab coordination on humanitarian relief and preparations for a post-Hamas Gaza. From Jordanian air drops to Emirati field hospitals, what we see in foreign ministry press releases and television interviews doesn’t match the close coordination happening behind the scenes,” Richard Goldberg, Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior adviser, said. 

The UAE previously announced $20 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza and an initiative to bring 1,000 Gaza children to the UAE for medical treatment. The country’s humanitarian efforts are called the “Tarahum for Gaza” campaign.

On Sunday, WAM reported that the UAE sent a plane carrying 100 tons of food, medical and relief supplies to Gaza.

“Dispatching the plane carrying humanitarian aid is part of the UAE’s efforts towards alleviating the current humanitarian conditions in Gaza and supporting the country’s unwavering efforts since the beginning of the crisis to deliver urgent food and medical supplies for the affected population in Gaza,” said Sultan Al Shamsi, assistant minister for development and international organizations affairs.

COGAT, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, said on Sunday that approximately 14,320 tons of humanitarian aid have entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah Crossing with Egypt since the start of the war.

“There is no limit to the amount of food, water and medical equipment that can enter Gaza. We invite the international community to coordinate and we will facilitate,” said COGAT.

Out of the 905 trucks that have entered the Strip, 189 carried more than 2,630 tons of medical equipment, according to COGAT, whch also said that plans are underway for the establishment of several field hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip and that floating hospitals are scheduled to arrive in the coming days.

This is in addition to international medical teams and 12 donated ambulances that have already arrived in Gaza.

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