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Sabra Express | The Battle for Al-Shifa

Israel Carrying Out Ground Operation in Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital

S. Dev, Haley Ott, Tucker Reals, CBS, November 15th, 2023

Recap:

The operation against Hamas at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital complex came after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned Hamas against using the hospital as a base for its operations.

The Context:

• Israel entered Gaza to destroy Hamas after the terror organization massacred over 1,200 people in Southern Israel (the number was officially reduced from 1,400). The war has displaced over 250,000 Israelis from communities near Gaza and along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. According to Hamas, 11,070 people have died in Gaza since the start of the war but Hamas’s figures are unverifiable. Over 1.5 million Gazans are displaced with 200,000 having fled south over the past 10 days [1]. 50 Israeli soldiers have been killed so far during the ground offensive [2].

• Al-Shifa is in the heart of Gaza City and has been at the center of a tense standoff for days. Israel accuses Hamas of having its headquarters under the hospital and the United States supports Israel's conclusions [3]. While skirmishes were reported outside the hospital, no fighting is reported to have occurred within the hospital itself. Upon arrival, the IDF located a Hamas tunnel entrance and found a cache of weapons. It also recovered the body of Yehudit Weiss, who was taken hostage on October 7th, from a building near Al-Shifa [4].

• Israel warned that hospitals in Gaza risk losing their protected status under international law due to Hamas’s use of the sites for military purposes. Hamas previously opened fire at Israeli troops from Al-Quds Hospital & Sheikh Hamad Hospital while the IDF believes Hamas held hostages in the tunnel network beneath Rantisi Hospital [5].

• The United Nations (UN) reiterated its concern over the growing humanitarian crisis with relief coordinator Martin Griffiths saying, “hospitals are not battlegrounds." This week the UN Security Council adopted its first resolution since the war’s outbreak, calling for an “urgent and extended humanitarian pause”. The vote in the 15-member council was 12-0 with the United States, United Kingdom and Russia abstaining [6]. Israel immediately rejected the resolution.

• On Tuesday, 290,000 Israel supporters gathered to stand behind the military campaign against Hamas, demand the immediate release of the 240 hostages held in Gaza and condemn an increase in antisemitic incidents across the world [7]. It was the largest pro-Israel rally in American history and included leaders from both political parties expressing bi-partisan support.

Conversation Points:

• Would other countries practice what they preach if a hospital was being used for military purposes?

• Should Israel allow a humanitarian pause if there is a chance Hamas can regroup?

• Why didn’t the US veto the UN Security Council’s resolution for a humanitarian pause as it has done in the past?

Notes:

1. IDF Enters Gaza Hospital in Move Against Hamas; Thousands in D.C. Rally for Israel. John Bacon Cybele Mayes-Osterman N'dea Yancey-Bragg Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today, November 15th, 2023

2. IDF Forces Raid Gaza’s Main Hospital, Find Weapons, ‘Concrete Evidence’ Of Hamas Use, Emanuel Fabian, Jacob Magid, Times of Israel, November 15th, 2023.

3. Israeli Troops Enter Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital in Culmination of Siege, Nidal Al-Mughrabi, Reuters, November 15th, 2023.

4. Emanuel Fabian, Times of Israel, November 16th, 2023

5. IDF Forces Raid Gaza’s Main Hospital, Find Weapons, ‘Concrete Evidence’ Of Hamas Use, Emanuel Fabian, Jacob Magid, Times of Israel, November 15th, 2023.

6. Un Security Council Adopts Resolution Calling for Urgent Humanitarian Pauses and Corridors in Gaza, Edith M. Lederer, November 15th, 2023.

7. IDF Enters Gaza Hospital in Move Against Hamas; Thousands in D.C. Rally for Israel. John Bacon Cybele Mayes-Osterman N'dea Yancey-Bragg Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today, November 15th, 2023


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