Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah appears to enjoy the limelight.
A Google search of the London-based surgeon’s name brings up numerous results for news articles that he’s quoted in and Dr. Abu-Sittah has built a following of more than 300,000 accounts across his social media channels.
It was, therefore, unsurprising that among the things Abu-Sittah did shortly after returning from a recent trip to Gaza, was to organize a press conference to tell journalists about it.
So, on Monday, November 27, reporters from outlets including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times of London, and Sky News crammed into a room in London and listened as Abu-Sittah gave his verdict on the Israeli-Hamas conflict.
During the five-week period in which he volunteered his medical services at the al-Ahli and al-Shifa hospitals, Abu-Sittah apparently became something of a munitions expert and, as such, was able to confidently announce to a room full of the media that Israel had definitely deployed white phosphorus in the Gaza Strip.
Although Israel has staunchly denied the claim that the IDF has used white phosphorus as a weapon, branding such allegations “unequivocally false,” Dr. Abu-Sittah insisted that he treated numerous patients with the “characteristic” burns of the chemical.
And this is not the only thing Abu-Sittah is absolutely certain about.
He’s also 100 percent sure he didn’t see a single Hamas terrorist or even armed hospital security at al-Shifa hospital — despite this being where Hamas based its operations, and the fact that footage has emerged showing piles of Kalashnikovs dotted around the medical facility, Hamas terror tunnels beneath the hospital, and CCTV of Israeli hostages being dragged into the hospital by Hamas terrorists shortly after the October 7 attack.
“At no stage did I see any armed police at Shifa, even the security men at Shifa, they were there just to police the number of relatives trying to get into the emergency department,” he told wide-eyed journalists at the press conference, adding that he frequently went to the hospital basement to collect medical items for surgeries and saw “nothing.”
Abu-Sittah’s experience is in sharp contrast to that of another British doctor who also volunteered at al-Shifa, and confirmed that because of the presence of Hamas, there were certain parts of the facility he dared not enter at the risk of death.
In addition to discussing his time volunteering in Gaza, Abu-Sittah also shared his view that the “genocidal” Jewish state has an end goal to “ethnically cleanse Gaza,” and suggested the IDF is targeting civilians in Gaza because, despite the IDF’s denying this abhorrent allegation, “statistically, it appears that the numbers tell a different story.”
And as has become a depressingly familiar trend with media outlets covering the Israel-Hamas war, no journalists pushed back on, investigated, or even questioned some of Abu-Sittah’s more incendiary remarks.
For example, in addition to printing the doctor’s claim that white phosphorus has been used in battle, The Telegraph also devoted much space to his absurd idea that Israel is ethnically cleansing Gaza, as well as his view that the country is guilty of “war crimes.”
What war crimes these are given that Israel has denied using white phosphorus is unclear, and the Telegraph doesn’t bother asking.
Similarly, The Guardian led with Abu-Sittah’s claims that he watched a “massacre unfold” while in Gaza, and that it is actually the destruction of the Palestinian health system that is the IDF’s objective in Gaza — not, presumably, Hamas.
His proof is that he was at al-Ahli on October 17, which is the day the hospital car park was struck by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket that was initially blamed by the global media on Israel, andsaid he heard a “whistling sound of a missile followed by an explosion.”
This, Abu-Sittah, told The Guardian, was “a litmus test … for what the IDF had planned to do to the rest of the health system.”
It’s conspiratorial guff, but The Guardian can’t help uncritically lapping it up.
Meanwhile, The Times dedicated much of its piece to Abu-Sittah’s graphic accounts of how dwindling medical supplies in Gaza resulted in patients reportedly suffering from infected wounds, and his assertion that IDF soldiers are using quadcopters with snipers, which he was certain of because he had witnessed exit wounds that were “bigger than a clenched fist.”
And while The Times did note the IDF’s wealth of evidence that Hamas used al-Shifa as a base, it still failed to push back on some of Abu-Sittah’s more ridiculous claims.
They follow a similar line: Abu-Sittah has lots of opinions on how awful Israel is and he’s never once seen a Hamas terrorist despite working at one of the terror group’s command centers.
It’s lazy journalism — as tired as it is predictable.