By Daoud Kuttab
Much has been written and said about who was behind the shelling of the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza formerly the Baptist Hospital. A lot of fiction is out there, and I will do my best to stick to 13 facts and analyze them:
1. First and foremost, those who were killed in the hospital are innocent civilians.
2. Israel has since October 7th been dehumanizing Palestinians.
3. The attack follows continuous Israeli efforts to dehumanize Palestinians as a way of justifying their attacks. In addition to the term “terrorist,” often irresponsibly used in the US and Western media as well, the term being used now is “human animals.” This designation is not limited to Hamas and its fighters, but covers all the people of Gaza, as Israeli President Hertzog said on October 13th: “It is not true civilians were not involved . . . They are collectively responsible for the attacks.”
4. The Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoram Gallant, used this disgusting term, and the Israeli Army’s Commander in Chief, Herzl Halevy, preparing for the ground assault also declared, “They are human animals, and we will treat them accordingly.”
5. Former Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennet argued that he is in favor of a Unity Government, precisely because, in his words, “We plan to do things in Gaza that the world ordinarily would not have permitted. We have a short window of opportunity right now, and we need a united government to be able to do it.”
6. The Gaza Hospital staff were warned beforehand.
7. The Israeli Army Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on October 10th that the Israeli army's aim is on damage not accuracy.
8. The Israeli army didn’t issue a denial that they were responsible for the shelling.
9. Twenty-four hours after the attack an Israeli spokesperson said that according to some of their sources, the shelling was carried out by Islamic Jihad. Why did they not deny that it was Israel and why does the IDF need 24 hours to deny what they should know clearly whether they shelled the hospital or not? Why not a single denial? Doesn’t the army know if they did or didn’t shell the hospital? They should have been able to deny the attack within minutes.
10. The Israeli army's record of lies is long among them claiming that a UN school that was shelled was the result of a misfired Palestinian rocket. But for two years they refused to investigate as they have refused to investigate the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh an American Palestinian journalist and the US has said it is inappropriate to investigate the attack on the hospital.
11. Biden’s own statement is full of qualifiers saying I was told, it appears, the other side says something different.
12. Israel warned another hospital Al Quds Hospital and demanded that they relocate
13. Israel spread leaflets in Arabic saying anyone who doesn’t leave the northern area of Gaza will be treated as a terrorist. They later said that the Arabic translation was inaccurate.
The innocent Palestinians taking refuge in the Baptist Hospital in Gaza like the 18 Palestinian Christians taking refuge in a nearby Church Building are dead due to Israel’s unlawful attacks on civilians. Stopping the Israeli onslaught on civilians which will also stop the rocket response is the only way to stop this murderous cycle.