Just as al-Shifa hospital has taken on new significance for Palestinians and viewers worldwide, Israel also places a premium on what transpires inside the center.
Tel Aviv has declared its intention to eventually assume control of Gaza’s security. On that issue, it has defied the preferences of its principal ally which favors the Palestinian Authority taking power.
However, they appear to be in agreement about “annihilating Hamas”, thus further ground operations would be required for that to occur. In that case, seizing control of the town’s primary hospital would be imperative.
Tel Aviv has stated that it seeks to seize control of what it believes to be the center of Hamas armed center and organizational might and to demolish the focal point that the hospital has developed into. The talks on how to free prisoners and let much-needed fuel and humanitarian goods to enter Gaza may potentially be affected by the outcome of the hospital dispute.
In a tape released few days ago, a hospital physician named Munir al-Bursh explained to Israeli soldiers how their entry is causing a “state of fear and hysteria.”
Since the military forces are the only entity in charge of regulating the environment within the hospital, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Watch has stated that “the army might be creating the scene that might be released later.” Hospitals targeted by Israel have generated a great deal of controversy.
Israel was charged with carrying out a deadly strike on Gaza’s other major hospital in October. However, Tel Aviv contend that Palestinian forces within the Gaza fired a malfunctioning missile that hit the hospital.
Over the last few days, the Israeli forces has been progressively encircling the hospital. IDF entered and besieged the main hospital in city with troops, tanks, armored vehicles, and strike drones backed by shooters as part of its ground incursion into Gaza’s north.
Thousands of individuals are still stranded in al-Shifa at this time. These include a large number of Palestinians who have been internally displaced and are seeking refuge there, sick patients who have nowhere else to go, and worn-out medical workers.
Direct sources state that prior to to rushing in, Israeli forces attacked telecommunications and power equipment. They reportedly questioned scores of detainees who were blindfold and naked, and were barred from receiving food or medical services.
The primary argument put forward by Israel to justify its blockade of Gaza’s most significant hospital is that Hamas maintains a primary command center beneath and within the facility.
The United States has also supported the assertion, leading Hamas to declare the White House “wholly responsible” for essentially approving the strike on a hospital that houses people.
To support this assertion, neither Tel Aviv nor the White House have provided any independently confirmed proof. Many of the hospital’s staff members and physicians have also denied it.
Furthermore, there is no concrete proof that any of the hostages who Hamas abducted on October 7 are being housed at the hospital. Additionally, Israel has refused to permit any impartial third-party entities to visit the region in order to confirm either side’s assertions.