Maybe I’m just cynical, but all the reports I saw in the liberal media, which includes the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian, seemed positively gleeful that Israel couldn’t instantly uncover all the tunnels that the IDF claimed were under al-Shifa Hospital. If they couldn’t, the papers’ implications went, then Israel would have done yet another bad thing: attacked the hospital on assumptions that turned out to be false.
I wasn’t that worried, though, because for at least a decade the press, foreign or Anglophone, have realized that al-Shifa was being used as an enormous human shield, with command headquarters under the hospital, and tunnels that linked to the many kilometers of other tunnels in Gaza. Because the first shaft that Israel found went into a tunnel with a “blast door” to resist explosions, although the IDF did find one shaft that linked to a tunnel, the IDF had to proceed carefully and slowly. Hamas booby-traps tunnels (six IDF soldiers were killed and one was blinded ten years ago when they tried to stick a camera into a Hamas tunnel). To see the dangers that these tunnels pose for soldiers who need to examine them and ultimately destroy them, click on the link in the last sentence. And yet the NYT expected the IDF to fully reveal the situation within a day or two.
At any rate, the IDF’s discovery of a shaft that connected to a tunnel, as well as weapons inside al-Shifa, made me pretty confident that the IDF was right. It would just take time to suss out the Hamas headquarters beneath the hospital. And now that a week has gone by, the excavations have indeed turned up evidence that not only is there a huge of tunnels from al-Shifa that connect to other tunnels, but also a ton of armaments. The tunnels are well equipped with plumbing and electrical wiring. (This, by the way, is why Hamas is so desperate for fuel and why they take it from hospitals: they need to keep their tunnels lit and aerated).
Of course the Israeli papers had the news about the new discoveries two days before, say, the NYT. Below are two headlines from the Jerusalem Post that detail the new findings. (Click to read.)
You can read for yourself, but here are a few excerpts. Notice, in the third paragraph, the sophisticated weaponry found in the hospital complex. You can see some of it in the first video below.
The IDF on Wednesday brought The Jerusalem Post and selected other media outlets to view Hamas’s terror infrastructure at Al Shifa Hospital, especially its several-hundred-meter tunnel network, up close.
This was the first time that a reporter from the Post had crossed into Gaza since the IDF withdrawal in 2005, and it brought up close everything the IDF had found since November 15 that Hamas had tried desperately to hide at Shifa Hospital.
Laid out next to the Qatar facility within the Shifa complex was a vast amount not only of Hamas guns and grenades which the IDF found hidden throughout the hospital, but also rocket-propelled grenade launchers, large and small advanced drones for delivering explosives, and a variety of sophisticated intelligence platforms.
A bit more:
The vastness of the tunnel itself, with the Post viewing a variety of sophisticated rooms and the blast door which the IDF displayed earlier this week, was testimony to how important this location was to Hamas.
Among the rooms was a spacious bedroom with two large beds and a large modern air conditioning unit, a kitchenette, a bathroom, and other facilities, as well as extensive plumbing and electrical wiring to enable all of the infrastructure.
. . . They had intelligence about Hamas’s tunnel network at Shifa Hospital long before arriving at the site. However, not only is the hospital site immense, with an extensive number of spread-out buildings and courtyards, but also, they said, they had found signs that Hamas went out of its way to cover up and fill in the already well-concealed tunnels once they suspected that the IDF might take control of Shifa.
. . .An initial breakthrough came on November 17 when the IDF destroyed a small structure that looked suspicious and was able to find one of the shafts and entrances to the greater tunnel network under the rubble of that structure.
The IDF showed the Post where the structure had previously stood and the initial shaft of the tunnel which they found, including the unusual spiral staircase which the IDF had presented at a press conference.
However, only several days later were they able to locate the more important part of the tunnel network, including all of the specialized rooms, likely used by Hamas battalion commanders.
Part of the delay was due to the priority of searching room-to-room for Hamas terrorists, weapons, intelligence, and anything linked to hostages or murdered Israelis.
Another delay came when the IDF announced on November 19 that it had arrived at a blast door whose breach required great care if troops were not to lose the opportunity to follow the tunnel beyond the door.
Here’s a video from yesterday which shows not only the weapons recovered from the hospital complex, but shows a female IDF soldier actually walking into the tunnel and showing the bathroom and sophisticated facilities. These tunnels are a lot fancier than I imagined! Imagine their cost! A few years ago Hamas claimed there were 500 km of tunnels, but of course what Hamas says can’t be trusted at the best of times.
Here’s an IDF officer giving a longer tour of the al-Shifa tunnels. One even had an elevator! He goes through the blast door that was finally checked out and opened. You can imagine how much it cost to build this stuff. If there really are several hundred km. of tunnels, that explains why Hamas impoverished Gaza by taking aid money to build these things. And that shows that they cared more about their mission to kill Jews than about the welfare of their own fellow Palestinians.
This is perhaps the most convincing piece of evidence in the post, as the guy shows off the long tunnels for 15 minutes, and yet the NYT still says this:
The Israeli military sought on Wednesday to bolster its assertions that Hamas uses tunnels beneath Gaza’s largest hospital, releasing a series of videos that it said showed “dozens of meters of a tunnel system” beneath the complex of Al-Shifa Hospital.
Israeli and American officials have said that Hamas uses hospitals to provide cover for its military operations, accusations that Hamas and hospital administrators have denied. Israel, under increasing international pressure to prove those claims, has released several videos to press its case, showing elements of its cautious exploration of underground structures the military identifies as Hamas tunnels. The videos so far — including those released on Wednesday — have not shown conclusive evidence of a vast network of tunnels.
Does the paper think the Israelis have faked those tunnels, like the supposedly faked Moon landing? At some point they’ll have to admit that Israel and the Western non-liberal-MSM media was correct: Hamas was using the hospital to foment terrorism by trying to deter Israeli attacks.
Here a Finnish journalist reports that a rocket was fired at Israel from the hospital’s back parking lot. All of this was done, of course, to deter Israel from attacking the hospital. And firing rockets from hospitals is a serious war crime.
Here’s an group of Hamas terrorists surrendering to the IDF as they emerge from a tunnel. Notice that the IDF doesn’t kill them, as Hamas would were the situation reversed.
You don’t want to see these four photos unless you can tolerate viewing the bodies of people killed at the Nova Music Festival, but it serves as a reminder about why Israel is defending itself so vigorously. Again, the sights are graphic, so don’t watch if you don’t want to see dead and bloody bodies.
Finally, here’s a long excerpt from the NGO Monitor detailing how the Non-governmental organizations were complicit in rejecting the claim that al-Shifa Hospital was a Hamas facility and command post. Many of these NGOs seem to me to be “useful idiots”, denying what everybody else knows in their desire to help Palestinians. That is, of course, a humane and worthy desire, but if they try to fulfill it by hiding the activities of terrorists, or denying what they know, then they are complicit in terrorism. So is the UNRWA, not formally an “NGO” but an agency of the United Nations that foments hatred and division (they’re well known for producing textbooks full of Jew hatred that are used by Palestinian school children) and, in fact, employs members of Hamas.
I’ve concluded that these NGOs and agencies like UNRWA were not ignorant of Hamas’s activities in al-Shifa, but knew very well about them but ignored them. How could they not? Everybody that worked in these hospitals knew the situation. ‘
This means that these organizations are complicit in the terror, Jew hatred, and death purveyed by Hamas. Here’s a list of them and how they denied Hamas’s activities in not only al-Shifa hospital, but other Gazan hospitals as well. The text from NGO Monitor is indented.
The evidence is overwhelming and incriminating. Hamas systematically exploited Al-Shifa Hospital and other medical centers in Gaza for command and control centers, terror tunnels, weapons storage, hiding kidnapped hostages, and murdering kidnapped hostages.
The newly released videos are disturbing, but they are not surprising. For nearly fifteen years, Israeli and American officials have publicly acknowledged the existence of Hamas’ headquarters under Al-Shifa Hospital, and the international media has reported on the active presence of Hamas in hospitals, including during rounds of armed conflict.
However, there is one network that has constantly denied Hamas’ exploitation of Al-Shifa and other hospitals in Gaza — the influential community of ostensible human rights NGOs, humanitarian aid organizations, and their UN agency partners. Many of these groups have been actively complicit in covering up the diversion of aid by Hamas. Some of them employ Hamas and other terror operatives. At the same time, these groups have disseminated disinformation regarding Israeli operations and have likely lied to government donors in auditing and oversight processes. As documented below, the NGO strategy of denial and extensive obfuscation has continued and increased during the current Gaza conflict, despite the evidence.
Most troubling, as suggested by the videos of Hamas terrorists openly bringing hostages and captured military vehicles into Al-Shifa’s grounds, it seems likely that NGO officials – particularly those connected to self-declared humanitarian NGOs – had firsthand knowledge of Hamas’ illegal use of Al-Shifa, but remained silent. If this is proven, the NGOs bear responsibility for failing to report on these blatant violations of international law, human rights norms, and medical ethics. Any medical staff involved in covering up these activities could also face civil and criminal liability in both domestic and international courts. Donor governments to these NGOs and UN agencies must launch immediate investigations.
Relevant International Law
Contrary to the claims of many NGOs, hospitals and other medical facilities lose their civilian status if “they are used by a party to the conflict to commit, outside their humanitarian functions, an ‘act harmful to the enemy’.” Examples provided by the International Committee for the Red Cross include “a hospital  used as a base from which to launch an attack; as an observation post to transmit information of military value; as a weapons depot; as a center for liaison with fighting troops; or as a shelter for able-bodied combatants.”
Statements from NGOs
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders)
MSF repeatedly denied that Hamas was present in Gaza hospitals, with an official claiming that “we have seen no evidence that the hospital buildings or the compounds are being used by Hamas as a military base.”
I long ago stopped donating to MSF, even after Kelly Houle and I gave them over $10,000 that we realized from selling my multiply-autographed and illuminated copy of Why Evolution is True. Now I really regret having supported them. I’ve heard that MSF won’t employ Israeli doctors, either, and I wrote them asking whether that was true. I never got an answer. I would never give them another cent. Readers can make up their own minds about supporting this and other organizations that may be complicit with terrorism.
And there are many more:
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
On November 14, HRW published a statement referring to “Unlawful Israeli Hospital Strikes” and stating that Israel’s claims that “Hamas uses hospitals as terror infrastructures” were “contested.” According to HRW, “Human Rights Watch has not been able to corroborate them, nor seen any information that would justify attacks on Gaza hospitals.” (Notably, the same statement repeated, without any caveat, claims from Palestinians who communicated with HRW “by phone.”)
On November 14, an Amnesty tweet suggested that Israel could not attack Hamas installations even if they were “near hospitals”: “Hospitals and medics must be protected at all times. No one should be conducting hostilities near hospitals or endangering the lives of the sick and wounded, or the doctors and nurses desperately trying to save lives in nightmarish conditions.”
But their tweet applies to Hamas as well! Amnesty International is another NGO that I will never support. Maybe, one might suggest, Hamas shouldn’t put its military facilities near hospitals!
On November 10, Oxfam published a statement, completely ignoring Hamas operations in hospitals and misrepresenting the relevant provisions of international law: “Attacks on hospitals packed with civilians in need of urgent treatment and seeking shelter are abhorrent and can never be justified….Indiscriminately firing on civilians in hospitals is not just a war crime, it’s an assault on humanity” (emphases added).
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
On November 11, NRC published a statement claiming, “We are horrified by reports of relentless attacks on Gaza’s hospitals…. It is an affront to wage war around and on hospitals….The harm to patients besieged in hospitals and the lasting effects of depriving the population of major medical facilities in a time of armed conflict may very well be unlawful. Medical facilities and personnel exclusively engaged in the treatment of the sick and wounded have special protection under international humanitarian law that must be respected in all circumstances. Failure to do so amounts to a grave breach of international humanitarian law.”
Save the Children
On November 10, Save the Children published a statement, “Hospitals and schools cannot be battlegrounds, and children cannot be targets. Yet in Gaza all three are attacked on a daily basis.…The continued, systematic assaults must end. Even during wartime, basic elements of humanity must prevail.”
Al-Haq, Al Mezan, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) (Donors include Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, EU, Norway, Netherlands, France, Denmark, UN agencies)
On November 2, 2023, Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and PCHR published a statement, “Gaza Hospitals Are Collapsing and Can Be Targeted Anytime: The International Community Must Intervene and Stop More Israeli Massacres of Palestinian Civilians.” In it, the NGOs alleged that “on 27 October 2023, the spokesperson for the Israeli army incited for the targeting of the Al-Shifa Hospital. The pretext for this claim is the alleged presence of tunnels beneath it, a claim repeatedly made by Israel that has not been substantiated with any reliable evidence. Al Mezan, Al-Haq, and PCHR express concerns that this could be a prelude to justify the potential targeting of the hospital, as seen in previous incidents, potentially leading to thousands of civilian casualties.”
Bisan (Donors include EU, Spain, Belgium, Germany)
On November 16, 2023, Bisan published, “Urgent Appeal to Protect Al-Shifa hospital and All Healthcare Facilities.” According to Bisan’s misstatement of international law, “…In times of war, the targeting or neglect of healthcare facilities not only violates international humanitarian law but also erodes the fundamental principles that form the backbone of our shared humanity…The deliberate targeting of hospitals is a blatant violation of these agreements and represents a reprehensible departure from International law and International humanitarian law.”
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) (Donors include EU, Italy, Switzerland)
On November 16, 2023, PNGO alleged that “What happened in Al-Shifaa medical complex goes beyond a flagrant transgression and is an absolute war crime.” According to PNGO, “The violent war against the Palestinian people, and specifically the Gaza Strip is continuing…the barbaric attack on the Al-Shifaa complex in Gaza City…under baseless excuses and pretexts…”
On November 15, in response to a report of IDF finding weapons in Al Shifa hospital, Director of Caabu Chris Doyle tweeted, “Did anyone think there was ever going to a world in which the Israeli army did not say this? It all is possible for sure, Hamas may well have done, but any ‘evidence’ would have to be properly verified. Earlier Israeli efforts were far from conclusive.”
There you go. If you think all these organizations didn’t know what’s going on, well, I can’t help you. The fact is, as has been realized for over a decade by those with neurons, that Hamas used hospitals to shield its terrorists from attack by Israel. And Israel will dismantle these structures, and will do so taking the greatest care not to hurt civilians. The quote below is from the first report above (Maglan is a special recon unit of the IDF and the sentence refers to the al-Shifa complex):
Senior IDF officials have emphasized that they were deeply involved in ensuring that Maglan soldiers had extra restrictive rules of engagement when entering the complex, which Hagari said on Tuesday had contributed to not a single civilian being killed during the IDF’s operation to take control.
This is a country that is supposed to be committing genocide on all Palestinians?
Addendum: Even the very venues that questioned about whether Hamas could be in al-Shifa right now had reported earlier that it was a fact. Here: from Human Rights Watch, The New York Times, PBS, and the Washington Post! There’s more at the link, but I’ll spare you. But have a gander:
Fatah and Hamas forces engaged in battles in and around two Gaza Strip hospitals on Monday. After Hamas fighters killed Fatah intelligence officer Yasir Bakar, Fatah gunmen began firing mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, drawing Hamas fire from inside the building, killing one Hamas and one Fatah fighter. [emphasis added]
The June 30, 2007 issue of the British Medical Journal
, corroborated the situation in an article quoting one of the doctors confirming that the hospital is infested with Hamas terrorists:
The medical staff are suffering from fear and terror, particularly of the Hamas fighters, who are in every corner of the hospital.
At Shifa Hospital on Monday, armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes roved the halls. Asked their function, they said they were providing security. But there was internal bloodletting under way.
…Hajoj, like five others who were killed at the hospital in this way in the previous 24 hours, was accused of collaboration with Israel. [emphasis added]
The article recounts how the hospital was used as a stand-in for the central prison during Operation Cast Lead, though there was not much of a trial.
Hamas was all over. in control, and taking advantage of the protection that Al Shifa offered.
WIDE ANGLE reached a doctor in Gaza who believes Hamas officials are hiding either in the basement or in a separate underground area underneath the hospital and said that they moved there recently because other locations have been destroyed by Israel. The doctor, who asked not to be named, added that he believes Hamas is aware that they are putting civilians in harm’s way. [emphasis added]
Five years later, things had not changed, except that the Washington Post acknowledged that the hospital was being used as a headquarters. On July 15, 2014, William Booth reported
about a brief cease-fire during Operation Defensive Edge:
At the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, crowds gathered to throw shoes and eggs at the Palestinian Authority’s health minister, who represents the crumbling “unity government” in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The minister was turned away before he reached the hospital, which has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices. [emphasis added]
How the liberal media has changed now that the woke are in charge of it!