The head of the Palestinian Medical Association warned on Wednesday that the health system in the Gaza Strip and West Bank would probably collapse as a result of international sanctions.

"Is the Palestinian health system going to collapse? Probably, yes," Dr Yihye Shawar told a Jerusalem news conference.

Shawar warned that half of all medical equipment will have run out within the month if the sanctions are not lifted.

"In two or three weeks 50 percent of the medical items will not be available," he said alongside representatives of the Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

A doctor from the Israeli group also sounded the alarm bell, listing serious shortages of medicine and equipment, and warning that lack of funds was hindering the transfer of patients for medical care outside the Occupied Territories.

"The situation in the hospitals of Gaza and the West Bank is alarming … It’s the most severe crisis, the most critical situation as far as the health sector is concerned," Professor Zvi Bentwich said, adding: "We call on the Israeli government to take its responsibilities and transfer amounts of drugs and money."

"We are here to urge the European Union, the U.S. and the silent Arab world to put an end to this mass punishment which is a shame," said Shawar.

Reprinted from