- Hundreds of doctors, medical teams, and patients left Gaza City's al-Shifa Hospital on Saturday after its director claimed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had ordered the Gaza Strip's largest hospital to evacuate within an hour at around 8 a.m. local time.1
- Mohammed Abu Salmiya, director of al-Shifa Hospital, alleged that Israeli army personnel had made the order over loudspeakers and called him to ensure 'the evacuation of patients, wounded, the displaced and medical staff, and that they should move on foot towards the seafront.'2
- According to the Hamas-run health ministry, a few medical staff stayed behind to care for over 100 wounded patients and an unspecified number of premature babies who couldn't be moved and thus remained at the facility.3
- However, the IDF denied the claims that it had demanded al-Shifa Hospital's evacuation, claiming it had 'acceded to the request of the director' to allow for a safe route out for 'additional Gazans who were in the hospital, and would like to evacuate.'4
- This comes after Israel's military claimed that it found Hamas weapons and equipment hidden inside al-Shifa Hospital — which reportedly sheltered over 7K people in addition to medical staff and patients — and is using it as a command center. Hamas and hospital officials have denied the accusations.5
- Meanwhile, Israeli air strikes in south Gaza reportedly killed at least 47 Palestinians after it again asked civilians to relocate as it hit dozens of targets it claimed were linked to Hamas, including command centers, rocket launch sites, and munitions factories.6
- Pro-Palestine narrative, as provided by The Wire. It's forbidden to turn civilian hospitals into a conflict zone or target a health facility treating the wounded. While Israel claims that al-Shifa Hospital serves as a key command center for Hamas, it has so far offered little concrete evidence. But even if Tel Aviv's claims actually held any weight, it has a duty under international law to prevent unnecessary harm to civilians. These horrendous human rights violations must end.
- Pro-Israel narrative, as provided by BBC News. It's illegal to use civilian populations, the sick or the injured, as human shields. Al-Shifa Hospital is a prime example of how Hamas militants hide behind civilians inside medical compounds to provoke outrage if they are attacked. Though it will continue to avoid civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip as much as tactically possible, Israel has the right to defend itself and will do everything in its strength to neutralize Hamas.