Sunday, December 3, 2023

Deadly hospital attack in Gaza: Why Israel’s ‘no role’ claim likely to be a lie

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At least 500 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air strike on the al-Ahli al-Arab hospital in Gaza City. Photo courtesy to Reuters.

Immediately after the deadliest attack on the Al-Ahli Al-Arabi Baptist hospital situated in northern Gaza City, and the killing of hundreds Tuesday night, the Israel government blamed Islamic Jihad, a fighting group in Gaza, for the attack. The Palestinian Authority had accused Israel of “massacre” at the hospital. But Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not only denied all the accusations saying “It is not the Israel military,” but also shifted the onus on Gaza fighters claiming that a misfired barrage of rockets hit the hospital.

Here are the reasons why experts and international journalists believe Israel’s claims to be a lie.

Israel claimed, “intelligence from multiple sources that we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza.” However, NBC News foreign correspondent Raf Sanchez said that Islamic Jihad rockets “do not tend to kill hundreds of people in a single strike in the way that the Israeli high explosives, especially the bunker buster bombs that are used to target the Hamas tunnels under Gaza city, do have the potential to kill hundreds of people.

”BBC reporter John Donaldson said “What else it could be, given the size of the explosion other than the Israeli air strikes? Because when we have seen rockets being fired out of Gaza, we have never seen explosion of this scale. We might see half a dozen or a few more people being killed.”

Many indicate the habitual style of denial of any role by Israel. Following the killing of Aljazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akhle during her coverage of the Israeli army’s aggression in the West Bank in May 2022, Israel washed their hands of her killing and accused that she was killed in a fire by a Palestinian gunman. Months later Israel admitted their mistake without taking any action in the case.

The US-based broadcaster and MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin questioned the Israeli version on X, formerly Twitter, “Take official Israeli statements with a healthy dose of skepticism when reporting on what happens inside Gaza,” while sharing the screenshot of Israel government’s initial statement denying its role in the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akhle.

Before taking a U-turn Israel PM Netanyahu’s social media advisor Naftali Hananya, claimed immediately after the attack that the Israel Defence Force (IDF) had struck a Hamas terrorist base inside a hospital in Gaza along with the image on X, formerly Twitter, which he took down later.

“A multiple number of terrorists are dead. It’s heartbreaking that Hamas is launching rockets from hospitals, mosques, schools, and using civilians as human shields,” Naftali added in his deleted post.

Questioning Netanyahu, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour said “He is a liar. His digital spokesperson tweeted that Israel did the hit thinking that there was a base for Hamas around this hospital, and then he deleted that tweet. We have a copy of that tweet… Now they changed the story to try to blame the Palestinians. The Israeli spokesperson of the Army made a statement in which he said evacuate the hospitals… they cannot fabricate stories to deal with it.”

Many international journalists explained the modus operandi of attacking civilian places to indicate the possible role of Israel in the hospital attack. Quoting WHO, Vice News reporter Hind Hassan said, “there have been 51 attacks against healthcare facilities since October 7th.”

Despite the claim of intelligence information, Israel has not yet made public any evidence they have to prove the role of Islamic Jihad in the attack.

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P P Jaseem
P P Jaseem
PP Jaseem is a freelance journalist covering law, human rights, and Indian minorities.

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