The New York Times describes in detail the scene at medical facilities in Gaza during the conflict. There is no question that the hospitals are overwhelmed and some have been subject to attack by the IDF. However, in between the detailed descriptions of inhuman suffering, the Times should have made a few points to put the issue in context.
1) The Use of Gazan Hospitals as Terror Centers
Throughout Gaza, Palestinian medical centers have been used by Hamas as command centers, safe havens for the leaders of the terrorist organization, and even rocket launching sites. According to the IDF:
One of the fundamental aims of the laws of armed conflict is the protection of hospitals, ambulances, and medics from attack. International law grants this group special protection from attack during active conflict.
Hamas chooses to use these protected areas for military purposes in order to shield itself from IDF strikes – and to draw international condemnation of Israel if the IDF is forced to respond.
In Hamas’ world, hospitals are command centers, ambulances are transport vehicles, and medics are human shields. Hamas’ actions in this regard are flagrant violations of international law. Hamas undermines the essential protections that enable the provision of medical services to those in need during wartime, and threatens the security of all who are carrying out legitimate medical services in dangerous conditions.
But you don’t have to take the IDF’s word for it. The Washington Post’s William Booth witnessed what was going on at the Al-Shifa hospital first hand, seeing Hamas use Gazan hospitals as terror centers
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.
Tablet Magazine even discusses why mainstream reporters don’t want to report on how Hamas is using these medical facilities:
Hamas obviously has no interest in having a photo-layout of one of its command bunkers beneath Shifa Hospital splashed on the front pages of newspapers. After all, such pictures would show that the organization uses the sick and wounded of Gaza as human shields while launching missiles against Israeli civilians. What Hamas wants is for reporters to use very different pictures from Shifa—namely, photos of Palestinians killed and wounded by Israelis, which make Palestinians look like innocent victims of wanton Israeli brutality.
Besides using these facilities as a headquarters, Hamas has also launched rockets from them. According to the Times of Israel.
A television reporter from the Finnish Helsingin Sanomat confirmed Friday that Hamas has been firing rockets out of the Al-Shifa Hospital.
The reporter, who was not named in the television segment shot on-site at Gaza City’s main hospital, said a rocket was launched “right in the back the parking lot” of the hospital at 2 a.m. on Friday morning.
“Really, it happened right in the area, the sound of it was really loud,” she said, confirming longstanding Israeli claims that Hamas is committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip by shooting from civilian concentrations, medical centers and other humanitarian institutions.
“It’s true that rockets are launched here from the Gazan side into Israel,” she said.
And if you are still skeptical that Hamas is using Gazan hospitals as terror centers, here is video from an IDF drone that shows Hamas firing out of one of the hospital windows. The video also has a recording of the phone call the IDF made to make sure that the hospital had been evacuated. After the IDF strike, you can see secondary explosions proving that rockets had been stored in the hospital.
2. Israel is trying to provide medical treatment to Palestinians
The IDF has opened a temporary hospital for Palestinians on the Israeli side of the Erez Crossing. Even as terrorists fire rockets at Israel, the hospital is treating wounded civilians in cooperation with the Red Crescent. Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza, has prevented Palestinians from entering Israel in order to reach the hospital.
In addition, even under fire, Israel is trying to ship humanitarian aid including medical supplies into Gaza. But Hamas is preventing the deliveries.
While the New York Times talks about the plight of patients at Gazan hospitals, they omit crucial information. It is Hamas who are to blame for the suffering of Palestinians in need of medical care.