Sunday, March 31, 2024

Weapons recovered from Shifa's maternity ward

So far, Israel's surprise raid at Shifa Hospital has been an amazing success. Hundreds of terrorists killed, hundreds more detained, few if any patients hurt by the IDF, incredible intelligence gathered, and caches of weapons found all that prove that Hamas and Islamic Jihad had turned the hospital into a command and control center again. Israel provided photos of the weapons, videos of the battles, even videos of terrorists admitting the hospital was used as their military hub.

CNN's  Nadeen Ebrahim, Sana Noor Haq, Khader Al Za'anoun and Abeer Salman reported about Shifa last Thursday. The article does not even mention the IDF videos, the interrogations or other proofs for its statements, and it gives Palestinian denials of the undeniable equal weight to the IDF statements:

Israeli forces began their most recent operation there on March 18, saying they are conducting “precise operational activities against terrorists” located at Al-Shifa – a statement also echoed in November’s raid.

The IDF had returned in force to Al-Shifa despite Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in January announcing that the most intensive phase of operations in northern Gaza was complete.

Speaking to his troops in a video shared by the Defense Ministry, Gallant on March 26 hailed the operation, saying the hospital was reached “in a flash” and that Hamas operatives still holed up at the hospital “are considering their future: surrender or death.”

Throughout its 11-day operation, the Israeli military this month said it had detained hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in and around the hospital, killing dozens of others.

Around Al-Shifa, the IDF said in an update Wednesday, “approximately 200 terrorists have been eliminated in the area of the hospital since the beginning of the activity.” The IDF also claimed that “terrorists fired at IDF troops from within and outside of the ER (emergency room) building at the Shifa Hospital.”

CNN is unable to verify these numbers.

Israel has for years claimed that Hamas fighters are sheltering in mosques, hospitals and other civilian places to avoid Israeli attacks. Hamas has repeatedly denied the claims.
Israeli officials have echoed the accusations since October 7, and following their first raid in November escorted CNN into Gaza to see a newly exposed tunnel shaft discovered at the compound of Al-Shifa Hospital.

The evidence did not establish without a doubt that there was a Hamas command center underneath the hospital as Israel had claimed.  

Of course, since CNN's tour, more evidence has been uncovered - US intelligence confirmed that the hospital was used by Hamas and the New York Times reported that the tunnels underneath were much more extensive than what CNN has reported in November. 

The CNN article, by contrast, emphasizes the false ideas that Israel's November raid was a failure, that it nearly destroyed the hospital's infrastructure then, that no evidence was found in November that Shifa was an important terror hub. It ignores the videos of terrorists admitting that everything Israel says about Shifa is true. 

CNN takes pains to cast doubt on literally everything the IDF says. Yet it expresses no such reservations on Hamas claims or any Palestinian claims of torture, patients dying, and other allegations of war crimes by the IDF:
Residents of the area around Al-Shifa told CNN there was heavy firing in the vicinity. One family said their home was shelled, and that children – some still alive – were buried under the rubble.
Unlike IDF statements, those claims are quoted without any caveats or mentions that CNN cannot verify them.

There is only one Palestinian witness who CNN does express doubt about. Buried in the middle of the many paragraphs accusing Israel of war crimes, the article says:

Targeting hospitals in wartime is prohibited under international law, but those standards change if enemy combatants are using the facility to attack an enemy.

One eyewitness said that, on the eve of the raid, they spotted hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members inside the hospital.

The eyewitness, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, estimated about 400 to 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members and their families arrived at the hospital in mid-March. Some of them appeared to be members of Hamas’ political branch, while others were armed militants.

The eyewitness said some of the militants were carrying guns inside the hospital.

CNN is unable to independently verify the numbers due to lack of reporting access to the strip, and has asked the Gaza health ministry for comment.
Immediately afterwards, the article reverts to quoting Palestinians at length about alleged torture of innocent civilians, doctors who fear for the health of patients still in the hospital without any evidence that they have been affected by the raid, and international condemnation by the World Health Organization. 

The extended time that Israel is taking at Shifa is not evidence that the IDF is trying to keep patients safe while rooting out hundreds of armed terrorists hiding inside the hospital itself but instead as evidence that the IDF doesn't know what it's doing. 

Compare this with how France 24 covered the raid. While the article also denigrates the IDF as well, it quoted experts that confirmed the IDF claims that the raid was a tactical success and that Hamas was using the hospital as a major military hub:

"The actual operation was a tactical success," confirms Veronika Poniscjakova, a specialist in international security issues and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the University of Portsmouth in the UK. The Israeli army “let Hamas think that they would attack elsewhere – in the central refugee camps of the Strip – and when Hamas returned to Shifa, the Israelis closed in on them", and took many prisoners, according to Ahron Bregman, a specialist in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at King's College London.

The Israeli action enabled Israel to recover “extremely valuable intelligence” about their enemy, as suggested by the images and videos of the interrogations that the Israeli army has made public, notes Omri Brinner, an analyst and specialist in Middle East geopolitics at the International Team for the Study of Security (ITSS) in Verona, Italy.

[I]n the current offensive, "the Israelis have been far more sophisticated in the way they are presenting this operation" and "they are using a much more precise way to message to the world that the threat inside the complex is real and credible," says Clive Jones, a specialist in Israel and the Middle East at Durham University in the UK. The army is using drone footage of gun battles and photos of the discovery of weapons caches to "try to convince international opinion that they had legitimate reasons for returning to fight in this hospital", adds Jones.

Israel also needs to prove it has the ability to carry out this type of highly sensitive operation with as few civilian casualties as possible. The precedent of the US-Iraq war in 2003 shows that “as soon as an army leaves an area, insurgents seek to return", says Bregman. This view is shared by other analysts. "We can expect Hamas to do the same thing in other hospitals, but also in schools or refugee camps where there are civilian populations", notes Shahin Modarres, an independent expert on international security and the Middle East.

By taking its time in the Al Shifa operation, the Israeli army is “signaling to Hamas that it will target it even if it harbours in places considered safe havens, such as hospitals, UNRWA compounds, mosques and schools”, says Brinner. At the same time, it's trying to prove to the international community that it knows how to do it” with a level of restraint.
This level of analysis - albeit superficial - is completely lacking in the CNN piece.

This is just one example of how CNN's coverage of the war is undeniably biased against Israel. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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