The Times’ coverage of the Gaza hospitals, to the exclusion of so many other aspects of the war, can be found here: “‘Hamas Restricts Journalists in Gaza,’ New York Times Confesses — That Could Explain the Hospital Obsession,” by Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, November 21, 2023:
On Nov. 14: “Hospital Shakes In Gaza as Fights Rage at Doorstep.” The article reported, “Israeli officials say Hamas uses hospitals in Gaza, including Al-Shifa, as shields to conceal vast complexes for their fighters in tunnels underneath. Hamas has denied the allegations.”
On Nov. 15: “Israeli Military Reports Assault at Gaza Hospital.” The article reported, “Israel asserts that Hamas has dug a network of tunnels beneath Gaza’s hospitals, using the patients and workers inside them as human shields for its command centers and safe houses. Hamas and hospital officials have denied the accusations.”
And then what? Then… nothing. Readers are left with Hamas’ denial as the last word.They are not provided with a scintilla of the evidence the IDF has assembled to support its charge.
The Times international editor and associate managing editor, Phil Pan, who hadn’t had a byline in the newspaper since 2018, went to Gaza City himself to check into Al Shifa hospital and report under his own byline that his visit “will not settle the question of whether Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that rules Gaza, has been using Al-Shifa Hospital to hide weapons and command centers.”
I don’t know what Pan expected he’d find there. A sign behind the main information desk with colorful arrows? “Cardiology, third floor. Cafeteria, second floor. Hamas Terrorist Headquarters, basement.”
Apparently the AK-47s, grenades, pistols, uniforms, and so on, just weren’t enough to convince our intrepid reporter, Phil Pan. He came away saying that his visit “will not settle the question of whether Hamas…has been using Al-Shifa Hospital to hide weapons and command centers.” Why not? What more evidence is needed to “settle the question”?
Even before this war, there was ample evidence that Hamas was using Gaza hospitals as bases. And the Times has already published one editors’ note conceding that the newspaper “should have taken more care” with coverage of an explosion by an errant Palestinian rocket at a parking lot near one Gaza hospital. David Collier reported that one of the doctors frequently quoted in the Times denying Hamas’ presence at the hospital has a history of social media posts celebrating terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.
Just like the television news outlets, the Times has some go-to doctors at Al-Shifa who are always interviewed, and can be counted on to always deny any connection of Hamas and the hospital. Judging by their posts on social media, these doctors are fans of Hamas. CNN, for example, has frequently interviewed “Dr.” Ezz Lulu, who turns out not to be a doctor but a first-year medical student. At 9:30 on the morning of October 7, after news of the Hamas orgy of raping, torturing, and murdering had spread through Gaza, Lulu posted online his excitement: “This is the most wonderful birthday that I have every had in my life.” A day later, he posted a picture of a hang glider. That hasn’t stopped CNN from interviewing him repeatedly about conditions at the Shifa Hospital. Either the network doesn’t know what he thinks about Hamas, or doesn’t care.
Then there is the head of the hospital, who is the international media’s favorite source of information about Shifa Hospital. Mohammed Abu Salmiya is quoted everywhere, from the BBC and the Guardian to CNN and the NYT….
What none of these news outlets know is that Abu Salmiya’s brother was a leader of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades – the Hamas military wing. His death was a targeted strike by the IDF.
Abu Salmiya has been the source of several of the most outrageous stories into the mainstream. He has repeatedly posted the claim that “there is no water or oxygen” left in the hospital, yet no one appears to have died for a lack of water, and Israel has tried repeatedly to deliver water to the hospital, only to have it turned down by hospital authorities following Hamas’ orders. Similarly, the scarcity of fuel to run the oxygen concentrators is not Israel’s fault; it has delivered thousands of liters of fuel, only to discover that Hamas has appropriated much of that fuel for its own purposes.
Mohammed Abu Salwiya supports terrorism on social media. Perhaps he thinks none of those reporters who interview him will never find out. He may be right. He celebrated a terrorist murder in Jerusalem last November; he has praised the infamous terrorist murderers Udai Tamimi (Hamas), Ibrahim al-Nabulsi (Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade) and Khaled Mansour (Islamic Jihad). None of this is apparently known to the reporters who use him as their primary source of information on Shifa Hospital.
When reporters scant all other stories about the Gaza war, and focus obsessively on hospitals, and especially on Shifa Hospital, and repeat the claims by their Hamas-linked doctors that Israel has prevented them from functioning, so that “all supplies of water and oxygen” have supposedly been used up — this never happened — or they peddle horror stories to the world about IDF soldiers inside Shifa Hospital who supposedly cut open the stomachs of pregnant women in order to stab the fetuses, we have a perfect right, and even a duty, to ignore the preposterous denials those reporters take seriously from those Gazan doctors, who turn out upon investigation to be so loyal to, and admiring of, the murderers of Hamas.