Remind the foreign minister of her responsibility! Share our post and tag Hadja Lahbib! Or print the poster, hang it in front of your window or take it to a demonstration.


Doctor Ahmed Muhanna, director of Al Awda Hospital in Jabalia (northern Gaza) was kidnapped by Israeli soldiers on Dec. 17, 2023, while he was working at the hospital. For a long time there was no sign of life from him.  It is now suspected that he is locked up in Naqab prison, deep in the desert. His family has no information about his physical and mental condition until today.

Doctor Adnan Al Bursh was also arrested that day by Israeli soldiers. At that time, he was performing orthopedic surgery at the Al Awda hospital. Doctor Al Bursh was tortured and murdered in an Israeli prison. His tragic story only heightens concerns about Dr. Muhanna’s condition.

Since Oct. 7, at least 214 health workers on duty have been detained by Israeli forces. At least 128 of them were still detained as of May 30, 2024.

Healthcare workers, all over the world, have a tough job. But what the nurses, doctors and healthcare workers of Gaza have endured since Oct. 7 is hard to comprehend.

Try to imagine it. The area where you live and work as a health care worker is attacked and bombed by the Israeli army. A lot of people flee to the hospital, which is supposed to be a safe place. They hope to find care for their wounded and a safe shelter for those who are not well. As healthcare workers, you try tirelessly to stand your ground and save as many wounded as possible, correctly amputate severed limbs and prevent infected wounds. But amid the crowds at the hospital, the crying and bleeding people, you realize that you could be the next target.

At least 493 health workers have been killed by the Israeli army since Oct. 7, 2024. 32 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals suffered permanent damage and 113 ambulances were hit, 61 of them completely destroyed. Yet our Belgian government takes no action. Is it not enough for our politicipolitci that health workers are kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered for doing their jobs during a humanitarian disaster? It is time for our government to act to stop this genocide!

“The Israeli prioritize the arrest and detention of orthopedic surgeons, because they are at the front when they carpet bomb the area. The arrest of dr. Ahmed Muhanna, also during the December siege, was because of him being the general manager of the hospital. I know I can be next in line. I know they can frame me for whatever reason, and sometimes I’m really afraid they will hide weapons in our hospital, just to arrest me.”

Mohammed Salha, acting director of AL AWDA hospital – Jabalia

To remind our government of its responsibility to contribute to respect for human rights worldwide, Viva Salut together with We Move Europe launched a petition for the release of Dr. Muhanna and the other AWDA personnel. With nearly 75,000 signatures from 39 European countries, we can send a clear message to our Foreign Minister, Hadja Lahbib, that the Belgian government is expected to take a stand to protect health personnel and other civilian victims through all possible avenues.

But we see that more is needed! We tried through several people from her cabinet to hand over the petition, but received no response. So, we call on everyone to remind Minister Lahbib of her responsibility. The fact that she is currently Minister of current affairs and that holidays are approaching is no excuse not to take up her responsibility.

Activists worldwide are putting pressure on their politicians to enforce a permanent cease-fire by applying sanctions against Israel and the Boycott-Disinvest-Sanction strategy. The People’s Health Movement, a global network to which Viva Salud belongs, also shared a strong statement in solidarity with Palestinian health workers. They are also calling on their members to widely distribute Dr. Muhanna’s poster and increase pressure on their politicians.

Sign the petition

Share our post and tag Hadja Lahbib (@hadjalabib) or print the poster* to hang on your window or take to a demonstration.


Attacking the health system in Gaza is a deliberate technique of the Israeli military. By systematically attacking hospitals, health workers and ambulances, Israel firstly ensures that wounded by military attacks cannot be cared for and only increases the death toll among Palestinians. Moreover, it causes permanent damage to social protection in Gaza, making the area unlivable. After the end of the sieges, it will take a long time before the health system in Gaza is somewhat restored.

Finally, Palestinians still living in northern Gaza are being driven out. Jabalia is the last functioning hospital there. If they can no longer go there, where should they go? This too, according to Dr. Salha, is part of Israel’s very deliberate tactics.

In the end,  the first target of the IDF was and and still is the Gazan health system. They want to make the Gaza strip completely unliveable, and you do this by attacking the health system. Without health services people will not stay. As a father, if there are no more health services in the North, you will move to the South with your children. And that´s the plan. They want to push the people to the South. If you look at the map of operational hospitals, most of them are in the South, in the North AWDA is the only one left. When the North is empty, Israel will occupy the North and Gazans will lose it forever.

Mohammed Salha, acting director of AL AWDA hospital

Al Awda Hospital in Jabalia is part of the Palestinian health organization AWDA, a major health institution in the Gaza Strip, and one of Viva Salud’s partner organizations. AWDA was working in two hospitals and six medical centers across Gaza. Since Oct. 7, AWDA staff has continued its work tirelessly. The staff disobeyed Israeli army orders to leave the hospital and evacuate to the south, not wanting to abandon patients who could not be transported.

After 13 days of siege, the Israeli army invaded Al Awda Hospital in Jabalia, northern Gaza, on Sunday, December 17. While all those present were being questioned, hospital director Ahmed Muhanna was arrested and taken by the Israeli army to an unknown location. Days later, five other staff members, a patient, and a visitor were also arrested. In May, the hospital was besieged for a second time. Then too, the Israeli army invaded and everyone was forced to leave the hospital. Acting director Mohammed Salha remained with 13 staff members to care for the 11 patients who were in too dire a condition and could not be evacuated. All ambulances had been destroyed by the Israeli army and there is no safe place nearby to evacuate the patients to.

On June 4, Dr. Salha wrote to us about the situation the hospital:

On May 31, 2024, the Israeli siege ended. Immediately 8 people arrived looking for help. The days after more then 100 patients per day arrived, especially people needing orthopedic surgery. We still no do not have filtered water. We drink pumped up, unfiltered groundwater, as our filter system was destroyed during the siege. The company that used to bring us clean water still can’t pass. So now we are removing the rubble from the road. The food situation is really critical. We depend on bread (we have flour) and rice for now, and a bit of canned food. There is really nothing in the market for 2 months. But still, here in the hospital we have more compared with the families in the North.

Mohammed Salha, acting director of AL AWDA hospital – Jabalia


*this poster can’t be displayed on the public highway