By: Noah Rothman – nationalreview.com – November 20, 2023
When the Israel Defense Forces finally reached the notorious command-and-control node that Hamas located in and under the Shifa hospital complex, the Associated Press declared that Israel struggled to provide evidence of the “traces” Hamas might have left behind in a “hospital packed with patients.” Though Hamas itself has boasted of its operations in the hospital for years and has even hosted meetings with journalists in those facilities, it was incumbent on Israel to convince the deliberately obtuse Western press of the veracity of its claims about the use of this facility by the terrorist group.
Israel obliged, of course, but not to the media’s satisfaction. The IDF produced unedited footage of the hospital, which showcased a number of “go-bags” containing rifles, ammunition, live grenades, and sundry other tools of warfare. But Israel’s detractors deemed the haul insufficient to justify the raid on the hospital. When the IDF provided Western reporters with their own independent look at the hospital, Israel was accused of manipulating the evidence (the IDF video showed only one AK-47 stashed behind an MRI machine, but Fox’s Trey Yingst found two, CNN leadingly observed). When the IDF produced evidence of the sophisticated tunnel network beneath the hospital, it was too small, too far from the facility, or just another product of Israeli subterfuge.
Those who have overinvested in the notion that Israel is conducting its campaign against Hamas with negligent excess cannot be rationalized out of a conclusion to which rationality did not contribute. For everyone else, though, the accuracy of Israel’s claims about the Shifa hospital complex is approaching the point of irrefutability.
Over the weekend, Israel uncovered evidence supporting its claim that the hospital’s staff colluded with Hamas terrorists to hide the Israelis and foreign nationals in Israel who were kidnapped and taken to Gaza on October 7.
The security footage of hospital workers taking an active part in Hamas’s hostage-taking undermines the credibility not just of Shifa’s employees but the international organizations that vouched for them.
“We went to every section in the hospital — ICU, emergency room, outpatient clinic, dialysis centers,” MedGlobal president Dr. Zaher Sahloul told NPR’s Steve Inskeep last week. “There were no suspicious areas. There were no military signs in the hospital.” That doesn’t quite comport with a British physician’s confession that Shifa contained a “part of the hospital I was not to go near and, if I did, I’d be in danger of being shot.”
“Hamas could have gone to any number of hospitals that are closer to the border, if the purpose was just to provide medical support to the hostages — some of whom do not seem seriously injured,” said risk-management analyst Michael Horowitz. The simplest explanation for Hamas’s actions is not that Shifa is somehow better equipped to provide care to the hostages but that the facility serves as an armed outpost for Hamas terrorists.
At the very least, the evidence Israel is presenting of the partial conversion of Shifa Hospital into a military facility should impose a crisis of conscience on the global press. The sources inside Gaza that retail dubious casualty figures attributed to Israeli military action, who insist that its medical facilities are so overrun with at-risk patients that they cannot be evacuated, who insist that Israelis are deliberately firing on medical personnel — all of them should be regarded with suspicion. That’s not too much to ask.
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