The facts about the Israeli attack on al-Shifa hospital are out – and DAMNING

Useless: the incubators at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza are now without power, due to the Israeli assault – and babies are dying. The IDF invaders don’t care a jot.

Israel’s excuse for attacking and shutting down the largest and most important provider of medical care for the population of Gaza has been shredded into tatters, leaving that country guilty of a flagrant – unforgivable – war crime. Or so it seems to This Writer.

Let’s look at the evidence, starting with a bit of context. This is from Consortium News – to which I was pointed by award-winning (and impeccably-credentialed) UK journalist John Pilger:

The Israeli claim that Shifa hospital was providing such a cover for an Hamas military presence there is in fact the longest running theme in Israeli war propaganda on Gaza, dating back nearly 15 years to the first days of the Gaza war of January 2009.

That was when Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel’s domestic intelligence service Shin Bet, told Amos Harel of Haaretz newspaper that “many” senior Hamas officials were “believed” to be hiding in the “basements” of Shifa hospital, and that the Israelis knew all about those underground levels of the hospital, because they had originally been been built by the Egyptians before 1967 and extensively refurbished by the Israelis themselves in the mid-1980s.

Diskin also explained to Harel that Hamas was confident that it wouldn’t be attacked, because of the patients on the upper floors.

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Apart from the fact that Israel’s intelligence service had admitted that it only suspected Hamas’ military presence under the hospital rather than having actual knowledge, Harel was, however, honest enough to report that his Palestinian contacts were telling him senior Hamas leaders never stayed in the same location but constantly moved from one location to another — a revelation that obviously made far more sense than the claim that those same senior Hamas officials were hanging out in a basement that was obviously well known to the Israelis.

But Hamas’ tunnels outside Shifa could obviously be used for the same function of command of military operations without having to bother with Shifa hospital.

So the drumbeat of Israeli concern about the alleged Hamas command bunker underneath Shifa appears to have been a phony issue from the start, aimed merely at bringing pressure to bear on the medical system, namely to close down Shifa as the largest, most modern and most effective hospitals in Gaza to create the maximum amount of suffering to the people of Gaza.

The article also states:

An attack on a hospital is normally considered a clear violation of the rules of war. The Israeli Defense Forces is justifying it by claiming that Shifa has long served as civilian medical  cover for the command center of the entire Hamas war operations and weapons storage.

That IDF claim has been cited constantly in Israeli propaganda as an argument that Shifa — and other hospitals in Gaza — should not be accorded the normal legal hospital immunity from attack.

Right. So: if no Hamas command centre and weapons store was discovered at the hospital, Israel’s attack on it must be a war crime.

What’s the situation there now?

The following refers to the Biden administration in the United States giving its support to the Israeli al-Shifa invasion – reported in Consortium News as follows:

CNN reported Monday night that “the Biden administration has now signaled that it supports the Israeli position, as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan declared on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday: ‘You can see even from open-source reporting that Hamas does use hospitals, along with a lot of other civilian facilities, for command-and-control, for storing weapons, for housing its fighters.’”

Those Sullivan remarks were an obvious green light for the IDF to press on for complete evacuation of the hospital.

The problem with that “open source reporting” is that it is never anything more than unsupported claims based on mere supposition.

If you’re not convinced by any of the above, then the BBC’s Verify team has examined the evidence – and has also found Israel’s evidence wanting:

The verdict seems clear: there is no evidence that al-Shifa was ever used as a base for terrorist operations by Hamas and any equipment that has been used by Israeli forces to indicate the same was brought there by them.

Where are Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak to tell us Israel has the right to defend itself by depriving Gazan citizens of medical care and, ultimately, their lives?

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