- Israeli forces entered al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early on Wednesday in what they characterized as a 'precise and targeted operation' against Hamas, only hours after the US backed its claims that the militant group was using the hospital as a command center. International aid agencies expressed alarm, with the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), describing reports of an incursion as 'deeply concerning.'1
- The Israeli military claimed that it found weapons in the hospital's basement after clashing with Palestinian militants. A top official at the hospital said Israeli forces were still operating inside the facility and that civilians were still present inside as well; the Israeli military said that it would provide medical assistance to patients and safe passage for civilians.2
- On Tuesday, National Security spokesman John Kirby said that Israeli claims that there is a Hamas command center underneath al-Shifa were correct — the first time the US has independently backed these specific claims from Israel. US President Joe Biden said that Al-Shifa hospital 'must be protected,' and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Israel must act within international law. Meanwhile, Hamas has denied the command center claims.3
- Meanwhile, there are reports that Qatari mediators alongside US coordination are seeking to negotiate a deal between Hamas and Israel that includes the release of some civilian hostages from Gaza in exchange for a three-day ceasefire and the release of some Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails. There has been little official information, however.4
- In a meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and White House coordinator for the Middle East Brett McGurk, Gallant told McGurk that Israel will not end its Gaza campaign until Hamas has been annihilated and the hostages held in the Strip are returned home.5
- As of Wednesday afternoon, over 11K people in the Gaza Strip have reportedly been killed, over half of which were women and children, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The official Israeli death toll, meanwhile, stands at 1.2K people.6
- Pro-Israel narrative, as provided by The Jerusalem Post. Israel has presented evidence that terrorists from Hamas have placed their headquarters underneath hospitals in Gaza, specifically to use civilians at the facilities as human shields. Indeed, the US has also verified that Hamas is using al-Shifa as a command center. Despite this, Israel, which has the right to defend its borders, is doing everything it can to minimize harm to the civilian population and provide aid while conducting critical military operations.
- Pro-Palestine narrative, as provided by Middle East Eye. Even if Israel's claims that Hamas is using hospitals as bases of operations are valid, it has an obligation under international law to protect hospitals during armed conflict. As Israel is committing horrendous human rights violations in Gaza, the international community must step up efforts to end the assault on Palestinians and work to address a humanitarian cataclysm.