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Washington Post Publishes Speculative Hit Piece to Muddy the Waters of Israel’s Shifa Hospital Operation

Israeli soldiers operate at the opening to a tunnel at Al Shifa Hospital compound in Gaza City, amid the ongoing ground operation of the Israeli army against Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

A November Washington Post op-ed headline read: “Evidence confirms Israel’s al-Shifa claims, so critics move the goal posts.”

Now, a Washington Post investigation into the “assault on Gaza’s largest hospital” appears to have taken that headline as a challenge, as the investigation’s authors lay out the case that “evidence presented by the Israeli government falls short of showing that Hamas had been using the [al-Shifa] hospital as a command and control center.”

Let’s take a look at their claims:

1. Hamas does not appear to be operating out of al-Shifa

Assertions that Hamas has abused Shifa’s protected status go back many years. So it was hardly a surprise when, as the Post put it, “Weeks before Israel sent troops into al-Shifa Hospital, its spokesman began building a public case.”

Indeed, it was weeks before the IDF took the hospital. Throughout this war, Israel has surrendered the element of surprise in order to minimize the risk of Palestinian civilian casualties. So, given the likelihood that the IDF would reach Shifa, it would have been surprising had Hamas not used the available time to mount a clean-up operation in advance of the IDF’s arrival.

The Post, however, attempts to make the case that Israel committed a war crime for raiding the hospital because it appeared that the hospital was not being used by the terrorists at that exact moment when the IDF took the facility.

Yet, International Law dictates that “injury to civilians … which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, is prohibited.” The Post readily admits it has no access to either the Israeli intelligence or that of the US, which also stated it had intelligence to back up Israel’s assertions. So this implied accusation falls flat.

2. The tunnels uncovered by the IDF “showed no immediate evidence of military use by Hamas.”

While the underground tunnel uncovered by Israeli forces after the raid does point to a possible militant presence underneath the hospital at some point, it does not prove that a command node was operating there during the war.

“A possible militant presence underneath the hospital at some point”? How many hospitals have military-grade tunnels built underneath them? Why is the Post not asking why there is a tunnel there at all?

Instead, it attempts to show that its estimate of where the tunnel network spreads under Shifa cannot be proven to exactly match the intelligence claims made by the IDF in prior weeks.

We do not know how much of the network has been explored by IDF soldiers. We do know that the IDF has specifically tried to avoid sending its forces physically deep inside the tunnels due to the risk of booby traps and other dangers to Israeli soldiers. So it’s hardly surprising that the IDF has prioritized destroying such tunnels rather than escorting foreign media on extensive tours. It is worth noting that where the IDF has transparently allowed foreign journalists to see the evidence for themselves, the media have done their utmost to minimize or dismiss the evidence.

3. Weapons found in al-Shifa may not have belonged to Hamas

But what about the terrorist presence above ground? The evidence is also dismissed.

Instead of highlighting the weapons uncovered in the hospital, the Post muddies the waters:

The Post was unable to independently verify to whom the weapons belonged or how they came to be inside the radiology unit.

“Unable to independently verify” has become a catchall for the media anytime they want to avoid acknowledging that Israeli evidence is compelling enough to justify its actions or even to sow the seeds to doubt in the minds of readers to imply that evidence could have been planted or staged.

4. Hostages in al-Shifa

And the security camera footage of two hostages, one of whom appeared to be injured, being led through the hospital? According to the Post:

It was not clear if the hostages were taken to the hospital for medical treatment or other purposes.

You decide.

Breaking: the @IDF released cctv footage from the Shifa Hospital with an October 7th time stamp, documenting Hamas terrorists forcibly transporting hostages (a Nepalese civilian and a Thai civilian) through the hospital.

These findings prove that the Hamas terrorist organization… pic.twitter.com/Eww6cOwboh

— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) November 19, 2023

Israel stands accused by the Post of using Shifa as a justification for targeting other hospitals in the Gaza Strip. Again, the evidence of Hamas misuse of hospitals is dismissed as in the case of the Kamal Adwan Hospital’s director, Ahmed al-Kahlot.

Israel released an interrogation video Tuesday in which Kahlot admitted to being a member of Hamas and said the hospital was under the control of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the group’s armed wing. In response, Gaza’s Health Ministry said the statement was made “under the force of oppression, torture and intimidation” to “justify [Israel’s] successive crimes, especially against the health system.”

Hamas in their own words:

Ahmad Kahalot—Senior Hamas Member since 2010 and director of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabalya in northern Gaza admits that Hamas has used hospitals as military facilities under their control.

Video credit: ISA Spokesperson pic.twitter.com/QGLclR94at

— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) December 19, 2023

Gaza’s Health Ministry is run by Hamas. But the Post is content to use a Hamas mouthpiece to cast doubt on the reliability of the confession. Neither Gaza’s Health Ministry nor its Hamas overlords are privy to whatever treatment Kahlot has received while in IDF custody.

Agenda-driven Speculation

The Post piece is defined by what it does not know, leaving its journalists to fill in the gaps with their own agenda-driven speculation.

“The U.S. government has not made any of the declassified material public and the official would not share the intelligence this assessment was based on.”
“When asked if more evidence from al-Shifa would be forthcoming, the [IDF] spokesperson said: ‘We cannot provide additional information.’”
“Without a complete understanding of Israeli intelligence and its battle plans, the legality of Israel’s military operations against al-Shifa remains an open question.”
“The IDF would not comment on the military advantage sought or achieved.”

Indeed, the Post gets comments from several presumed experts, most of whom can only talk in hypotheticals.

It therefore raises more questions than it is able to answer. And without those answers, its entire hypothesis of Israeli war crimes is intellectually dishonest.

Ultimately, The Washington Post’s supposed investigation is nothing more than a (un)sophisticated hit piece that omits important context. An intellectually honest approach would acknowledge the terrible human suffering without implying (with zero evidence) that Israel is committing war crimes.

This reporting is neither groundbreaking nor conclusive. It’s simply a lazy attempt to vilify Israel and absolve Hamas.

The author is the Editorial Director of HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Washington Post Publishes Speculative Hit Piece to Muddy the Waters of Israel’s Shifa Hospital Operation first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Brian Mulroney (1939-2024) was a steadfast supporter of Israel and the Jewish community

World Jewish Congress honoured him with the Herzl Award last November.

The post Brian Mulroney (1939-2024) was a steadfast supporter of Israel and the Jewish community appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Quebec officially opened a representative office in Tel Aviv after months of war-related delay—with Israeli consul general Paul Hirschson greeting director Alik Hakobyan

Quebec’s representative office is opening in Tel Aviv this week, after months of delay, caused by the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and the subsequent war. Alik Hakobyan, who is the director of the office, had been operating the bureau in Montreal but officially moved to Israel this week to continue his work with the bureau. […]

The post Quebec officially opened a representative office in Tel Aviv after months of war-related delay—with Israeli consul general Paul Hirschson greeting director Alik Hakobyan appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Uncommitted: Rashida Tlaib Refuses to Say Whether She Will Support Biden in November

Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) listen as Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on “Trump Administration’s Child Separation Policy” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) refused to say earlier this week if she planned to vote for her party’s incumbent, President Joe Biden, in the 2024 election.

During a press conference where she and other members of the so-called  far-left “Squad”, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY),  were calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, Tlaib did not comment when asked if she would be voting for Biden in November.

Tlaib is the only Palestinian-American member of Congress and also represents the most Arab district in the country.

During this week’s Michigan primary, she supported the campaign to vote “uncommitted” rather than for Biden, in protest of his pro-Israel stance since Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attack.

While she would not answer what she plans to do in November, when asked about others who voted “uncommitted,” she told them, “Don’t stay home,” adding, “One thing that I know about staying home is you’re making us more invisible. I want you to exercise your right to vote, I really mean this. But also think of the whole ballot.” 

She urged people to “not always think about that top of that ticket.”

In 2020, she did not endorse Biden, but did campaign against Trump.

During this week’s primary, more than 100,000 people cast an “uncommitted” ballot, making up 13.2 percent of the vote. If a sizable portion of that group decides not to vote for Biden in November, it has the possibility of tipping the state and election toward his opponent — which is likely going to be former President Donald Trump. In 2016, Trump beat Clinton in the state by only about 10,700 votes.

In Tlaib’s district, about 17 percent of people voted “uncommitted,” and 78 percent voted for Biden.

For context, in the 2012 primaries, just over 10 percent of Michigan voters cast an “uncommitted” ballot against former President Barack Obama. However, in raw numbers, it was only about 20,000 people.

Tlaib was clear that she wanted to avoid a second Trump term, saying “I am incredibly, incredibly scared of a second Trump term, and I think it’s really important to emphasize this.” She continued: “Right now, our democracy is at stake. Many of us are saying change course because you’re threatening our democracy.”

During the press conference, Tlaib emphasized that she was not pushing for a temporary ceasefire with Hamas but rather a permanent one.

“A temporary ceasefire isn’t enough,” she said.

Critics of her approach point out that such a solution would allow Hamas to remain in power and would likely leave some number of hostages in the hands of Hamas as well — neither of which is conducive to short or long-term peace.

In recent months, Tlaib has strongly spoken out against Biden’s Israel policy. In November, she said “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people.”

Then, this week, she said “Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot about how the president and his administration are concerned and troubled by the Israeli government’s actions. We’re here to tell him, so are we.” 

“And yet again, once again, we are continuing though to veto resolutions at the United Nations for the third time calling for immediate, lasting ceasefire,” she lamented.

The post Uncommitted: Rashida Tlaib Refuses to Say Whether She Will Support Biden in November first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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