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Myth:

“Israel has not provided extensive proof of Terrorist Infrastructure in the Al Shifa Hospital”

Source:

IDSF

Fact:

Hamas has been using the Al Shifa hospital as a terror base from 2007 after it took over the Gaza strip. This widely-known fact has been proven multiple times, both by Israeli military information, Western and other foreign militaries, and intelligence agencies, including the United States military, and multiple other independent sources, confirmed that as well.

  • Hamas had taken over the hospital first after the 2007 coup in which it fired all doctors with associations to Fatah and threatened to murder doctors who would return. During the 2007 fighting between Hamas and Fatah, Hamas fighters were seen in the hospital killing their opponents.

  • Amnesty International, an NGO that is known for its harsh criticism on Israel, reported that Hamas used the hospital during the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict as a center for torturing, interrogation, and executions of political opponents. 

  • In 2006, PBS aired a documentary under the name “Gaza E.R.” as part of the “Wide Angle” program. Hamas fighters can be seen in parts of the program roaming around the hospital and controlling it. As part of the program, an anonymous doctor said that Hamas operatives are hiding in the Hospital basement.

  • During interrogations of multiple captured terrorists of the October 7 massacre, they described how Hamas has turned the hospital into its base of operation with the knowledge that the Israelis would not bomb it. Their testimonies included:

Medical team was frustrated because Hamas operatives and operatives of other terrorist organizations were inside the hospital. I saw a lot of them… it reached 100 people. They (Hamas) dressed as nursing staff.”

“While the Hamas operatives stayed at the complex, they continued to operate. For example, what I saw, was how they wrapped rockets with mattresses.” 





Hamas terrorist confesses the organization uses Al Shifa as a military facility

  • There are other accounts of the use of the hospital as a terrorist base like the account by a UK doctor who recounted that there were areas in the hospital, he was banned from entering with the threat of being shot by Hamas.

  • Hamas’ enemy Fatah that initially controlled the Health Ministry after Hamas took over the strip, blamed Hamas for turning Al Shifa and other hospitals into a de facto prison. 

  • The Washington Post reported during the 2014 war that Al Shifa became “de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices”. Also, The Guardian reported on a similar story as their journalists encountered Hamas men. A Finnish reporter during the same war reported that rockets were fired from the hospital compound.

  • The main claims that there are no Hamas men in the hospital come from 2 Norwegian doctors who served in the hospital, Erik Fosse and Mads Gilbert. Both doctors are members of the Red Norwegian party, a Maoist Communist radical left party.

To conclude, even if one does not believe Israel regarding the use of Al Shifa hospital as a terror base, it is impossible to ignore the countless accounts from multiple sources including Palestinian ones about the Hamas grip over the hospital. IDF has released multiple videos from the recent localized raid of the hospital showing a terror tunnel with a depth of up to 10 meters underground with a large metal door. Moreover, in this raid the IDF found stacks of weapons and ammunitions in the hospital right next to MRI machines and inside hospital wards. 

Claims that Israel has not provided enough evidence on the Hamas HQ under Al Shifa are therefore designed to pressure Israel to release its intelligence assets, as well as continue the trend of doubting claims on Israel’s right for self-defense, much like the doubts on the murder of 40 Israeli babies or the very massacre of October 7.

Claims by former Israeli PM Ehud Barak

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak claimed in an interview to CNN’s Christian Amanpour that Israel built the bunkers under Shifa refereeing to larger spaces that Israel built. This quote was taken out of context by Arab media to create the impression that Israel built the spaces used by Hamas rather than creating more space for patients. This also white washes the Hamas terror tunnels that were built under the hospital.

In fact, Barak was clear – Israel expanded the Al Shifa structure during the 1980s, “over 4 decades ago”, according to the same architectural models of many other hospitals in Israel, such as Beilinson, Soroka and Sorasky. National Roads Company of Israel (MAATZ), with rich experience in constructing state hospitals in Israel hired Israeli architects Gershon Tsfor and Benjamin Edelssohn to design the model, that served for the expansion of the British Mandate-era compound after the Six Day War. Israel’s construction project included expanding the 320-bed hospital into 900 beds and to serve the entire Gaza Strip, rather than merely Gaza City, and inaugurated the central 6-floor building that included an emergency room, respiratory critical care, seven X-ray rooms, five surgery rooms, and a bomb shelter in the underground floor.

This does not infer that the bomb shelter, typical for any Israeli state building and many of Israel’s residential buildings, has been used solely by Hamas, therefore making Israel the architect of its enemies’ hiding place. Hamas significantly expanded the compound, building an underground tunnel network across the Gaza Strip, deepening the underground compound into weapon silos, entire halls, tunnels wide enough to allow ammunition trucks to go through, and an operational headquarters. A standard basement floor, therefore, is not comparable to a vast terrorist network of underground tunnels.



The Al Shifa model as per Israeli architects, including structures that have not been constructed, and an archive picture of the hospital during the Israeli military administration (Ran Arda, Gershon Tsfor collection, Israel Architecture Archive)


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