Amid all the uproar over the Israeli bombing of al-Ahli Hospital, which turned out actually to have been bombed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, it is important to remember that the Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza has long been recognized as a Hamas outpost. The terror group stores weapons both inside the hospital and in the tunnel complex that was built just under the building. The hospital contains a Hamas command-and-control center, and Hamas terrorists are known to be staying in some of the hospital rooms. If Israel is to destroy Hamas as a military force, root and branch, the IDF will necessarily have to attack the tunnels under the Shifa Hospital as well as many rooms in the hospital itself where weapons are stored, rocket launchers are used, and Hamas fighters can hide. One can well imagine the worldwide outrage that such an attack would elicit, unless Israel can in advance clearly describe the multifarious ways that Hamas has for more than a decade used the hospital building to hide weapons and ammunition, to launch rockets from its premises, and to provide secure bunkers for terrorists.
At the same time, Israel should offer to have patients transferred from Shifa Hospital to Israeli hospitals so that they could receive advanced medical care, or in the alternative, to Israeli field hospitals that could be set up right on Israel’s border with northern Gaza. Both Israeli medical personnel, and Palestinian doctors and nurses from Shifa Hospital, could work together at such a field hospital. Israel’s offer will be one more confirmation of what Israel has always been — the protector of civilians, wherever and whenever that is possible. When Hamas turns the offer down, this will constitute quite a different confirmation, that is, of the sinister use by Hamas of innocent civilians, whose wellbeing is of no concern to the terror group. Hamas hopes that many of those civilians will die in order that the terror group can score propaganda points against the Jewish state. That’s why it has been trying to prevent Gazans from moving to southern Gaza from the north, as Israel has advised them to do for their own safety. More on Shifa Hospital can be found here: “What reporters aren’t telling you about Shifa Hospital: It is Hamas HQ,” Elder of Ziyon, October 17, 2023:
But Shifa isn’t only famous for being the biggest hospital in Gaza.
It is known for being the headquarters of Hamas. And this has been well known since at least 2009.
As Tablet wrote in 2014:
The idea that one of Hamas’ main command bunkers is located beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is one of the worst-kept secrets of the Gaza war. …The location is so un-secret that Hamas regularly meets with reporters there. On July 15, for example, William Booth of the Washington Post wrote that the hospital “has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices.” Back in 2006, PBS even aired a documentary showing how gunmen roam the halls of the hospital, intimidate the staff, and deny them access to protected locations within the building—where the camera crew was obviously prohibited from filming.
What Hamas wants is for reporters to use … photos of Palestinians killed and wounded by Israelis, which make Palestinians look like innocent victims of wanton Israeli brutality.
To that end, the rules of reporting from Shifa Hospital are easy for any newbie reporter to understand: No pictures of members of Hamas with their weapons inside the hospital, and don’t go anywhere near the bunkers, or the operating rooms where members of Hamas are treated.
…What Hamas has done, therefore, is to turn Shifa Hospital into a Hollywood sound-stage filled with real, live war victims who are used to score propaganda points, while the terrorists inside the hospital itself are erased from photographs and news accounts through a combination of pressure and threats, in order to produce the stories that Hamas wants.
Judging from the coverage in this round, the reporters are sticking to the Hamas playbook perfectly….
Shifa Hospital is the paradigm of how Hamas uses human shields and how it endangers civilians. But because Hamas doesn’t want reporters to mention that….they almost never do.
All of the information about how Hamas has used the Shifa Hospital for its own nefarious purposes for many years should be disseminated right now by the IDF spokesmen, so that the media has time to write about it before the actual IDF attack in northern Gaza — which must surely include Shifa Hospital as one of its targets — takes place.