Gaza jihadists blow up their own hospital. I'm shocked...not.
What shocks me is the US media initially was quick to condemn Israel because they have sheet between their ears. Only an incompetent bunch of vicious psychopaths would be dumb enough to blow up their own hospital.
Only a bunch of woke degenerates would show up to protest and support Hamas in our country's streets and institutions of finer learning.
The Media, Like the Terrorists, Aim at Israel and Miss
The Arab street has a new blood libel: that Jews slaughter Palestinians in their hospitals.
By Elliot Kaufman, WSJ
Oct. 18, 2023 5:32 pm ET
It was a lie. Hamas said Tuesday that an Israeli airstrike on a Gaza City hospital killed at least 500 Palestinians. Turns out it wasn’t Israeli, it wasn’t an airstrike, it didn’t hit the hospital, nowhere close to 500 people were killed, and Hamas knew it.
This has been confirmed independently by the Pentagon, according to President Biden and the National Security Council; by an intercept and drone and radar footage released by the Israeli military; and perhaps most persuasively by looking at the hospital in daylight. The evidence indicates that a rocket launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad is the likely culprit.
The question is why the media and so many others ran with the story of Israeli war crimes. They did so on nothing but the word of the jihadist group that committed the largest mass slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.
“Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say,” read the initial New York Times headline. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) announced on Twitter: “Bombing a hospital is among the gravest of war crimes. The IDF reportedly blowing up one of the few places the injured and wounded can seek medical treatment and shelter during a war is horrific. @POTUS needs to push for an immediate ceasefire to end this slaughter.”
The trend everywhere was to let Hamas drive the story, leading readers astray. “BREAKING: The Gaza Health Ministry says at least 500 people killed in an explosion at a hospital that it says was caused by an Israeli airstrike,” the Associated Press wrote in a tweet seen 13 million times. The Gaza Health Ministry is controlled by Hamas. The AP’s subsequent clarification that Israel attributed the strike to a Palestinian rocket has fewer than 200,000 views. But the friendly-fire explanation should always have been plausible and held out as a possibility. Israel doesn’t target hospitals, and it had already counted some 450 Palestinian rockets that fell inside Gaza.
What actually happened? The Israel Defense Forces say that Palestinian Islamic Jihad began a barrage of 10 rockets at Israeli cities at 6:50 p.m. local time Tuesday. This is confirmed by live video, including on Al Jazeera, which shows one rocket malfunctioning and crashing in Gaza at 6:59 p.m.—the same time reports emerged of a blast near the hospital. Israel’s Channel 12, an independent commercial station, caught it on video, too. Israel says it carried out no attacks at that time. Gazans near the hospital reportedly complained about the distinct shriek of rocket launches.
Soon after, Hamas fighters discussed what had happened. We know this because—in a rare move that reflects the stakes here—Israel released a recording of an intercepted phone call between two Hamas members:
“I am telling you this is the first time we see a missile like this falling, and so that’s why we are saying it belongs to Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
“It’s from us?”
“It looks like it. They are saying that the shrapnel from the missile is local shrapnel and not like Israeli shrapnel.”
“But God bless, it couldn’t have found another place to explode?”
“They shot it coming from the cemetery behind the hospital, and it misfired and fell on them.”
With morning came clear sight of the hospital—which hadn’t sustained structural damage. Instead, it could be seen that the blast had occurred in the parking lot, and had set off a large fire, likely from the accelerant of a failed long-range rocket.
The kind of crater that would indicate an Israeli strike is nowhere to be found. We know what those look like, because they are all over Gaza. But not here. Cars as close as 10 yards to the impact sustained no structural damage. Ditto for the nearby buildings. Instead, the vehicles were charred from fire—what you’d expect from a Palestinian rocket.
The situation also makes it implausible that 500 were killed. Hamas reported casualty figures way sooner than it could possibly have known—and that should have been a tip-off that something wasn’t right.
But the media bought it and shifted the Western discussion to what Israel had supposedly done rather than what Hamas actually did and what Israel needs to do to defend its citizens.
Why? One answer is that opponents of Israel, including many journalists, wanted to believe Hamas’s story because it fits their image of Israel as a villain or enemy. And no doubt many in the West are determined to believe the worst of Israel even when it’s been disproved. But the larger risk is across the Islamic world. Hamas’s lie—and the Western media’s propagation of it—brought huge crowds to the streets in Ramallah, Amman, Beirut and Baghdad.
Crowds tried to attack the Israeli Embassy in Jordan and the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Moderating Arab leaders were pushed into making hasty statements about “Israeli criminal practices” (Saudi Arabia) and “the Israeli attack that targeted Al Ahli Baptist Hospital” (United Arab Emirates).
These leaders fear their own populations, whose prejudices they know all too well. The rulers could find themselves blamed for strengthening relations with Israel, the hospital killers.
The Arab street has been given a new blood libel: that Jews slaughter Palestinians in their hospitals. That we can be confident it is false, like the 2002 “Jenin massacre,” doesn’t mean they will ever know that. No matter how this war ends, Islamic Jihad’s strike and Hamas’s propaganda are likely to feed violence against Jews and Israel—with an assist from the Western press.
Mr. Kaufman is the Journal’s letters editor.
U.S., Experts Say Evidence Suggests Palestinian Rocket Hit Gaza Hospital
Middle East convulses even as Western intelligence discounts claims that an Israeli strike caused the deadly explosion
By Margherita Stancati, Yaroslav Trofimov, Nancy A. Youssef and Stephen Kalin, WSJ
Updated Oct. 18, 2023 8:33 pm ET
Israel, the U.S. government and independent security experts said Wednesday the preliminary evidence for a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital compound pointed to a local militant group, casting doubt on Palestinian claims that an Israeli airstrike was responsible.
Independent analysts poring over publicly available images of Tuesday’s explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and its aftermath say the blast site doesn’t bear the hallmarks of a strike with a bomb or missile of the types usually used by Israel.
The amount of damage also appears inconsistent with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry’s assertion that 471 people were killed, experts said. U.S. officials say that the death toll so far is likely between 100 and 300 people.
“We have none of the indicators of an airstrike—none,” said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an expert on military and security issues.
The U.S. has collected “high confidence” signals intelligence, which includes electronic surveillance, indicating that the blast at the hospital in Gaza was caused by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, U.S. officials said, buttressing Israel’s contention that it wasn’t responsible for the blast.
A video verified by The Wall Street Journal recorded a shrieking sound and the explosion that followed.
Washington’s assessment that Israel wasn’t behind the blast at the hospital drew, in part, on communications intercepts and other intelligence gathered by the U.S., defense officials said.
“The U.S. government assesses that Israel was not responsible for an explosion that killed hundreds of civilians yesterday at the Al Ahli Hospital in the Gaza Strip,’’ White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said. “Our assessment is based on available reporting, including intelligence, missile activity, overhead imagery and open source video and images of the incident.’’
She added: “Intelligence indicates that some Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip believed that the explosion was likely caused by an errant rocket or missile launch carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ),” a Hamas aligned group. The U.S. continues to collect information on the incident, she said.
The Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees said they had been briefed on the intelligence related to the blast, and concluded it wasn’t the result of an Israeli military action.
The small size of the open area where the explosion occurred, coupled with limited shock-wave damage, was inconsistent with the death toll claimed by the Palestinian Health Ministry, several open-source intelligence analysts said.
Photos and videos taken at the site of the blast show a very shallow crater in the parking lot outside, and that the hospital compound’s buildings hadn’t sustained major damage.
“At the moment, the preponderance of evidence does point to it being a Hamas or PIJ rocket hitting the area,” said Blake Spendley, an open-source intelligence analyst. He said videos and photos he has reviewed showing the scene were more consistent with a death toll of about 50 rather than the 500 initially claimed by Hamas.
A silent video shown in a livestream from Al-Jazeera captured a blast and fire at the hospital.
Palestinian claims that Israel was responsible late Tuesday were echoed by several Middle Eastern governments, sparking angry street protests across the region and complicating a visit to Israel by President Biden. Those claims also drained whatever sympathy Israel might have had in the region from Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which caused the single biggest loss of Jewish lives since the Holocaust.
Biden, during his visit, said Israel’s version of events appeared more accurate based on information he had received from the Defense Department.
“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team,” he said. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got a lot—we’ve got to overcome a lot of things.”
In later comments aboard Air Force One, he said he understood why people in the region wouldn’t believe Israel, adding he wasn’t suggesting Hamas intentionally targeted the hospital. “It’s not the first time Hamas has launched something that didn’t function very well,” he said.
Biden will address Americans about the Israel-Hamas conflict and Russia’s war in Ukraine on Thursday evening, the White House said. Biden is expected to seek a roughly $100 billion aid package from Congress for Israel, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific region and border security.
Israel on Wednesday offered what it said was proof that it wasn’t responsible for the incident, which it said was caused instead by an errant rocket fired from within Gaza by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which rejected the accusation.
Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, Israel’s chief military spokesman, told a news conference that there had been no Israeli strike in the hospital area. Hagari shared what he said was an intercepted conversation between two unidentified Hamas operatives saying the rocket was fired by militants from a cemetery near the hospital.
Hagari said the blast took place in the parking lot of the hospital and that the hospital building itself didn’t suffer structural damage. He shared a photo of the burned-out parking lot, saying there was no deep crater at the site of the blast to indicate an aerial strike. Hagari said the rocket’s residual propellant—fuel that boosts the rocket toward its destination—explains why the explosion was so powerful.
“Islamic Jihad caused the casualties in the hospital,” said Hagari. “We want the maximum transparency because we take any incident involving civilians very, very seriously.”
A shallow crater in a parking lot, which appears in a video of the site on Wednesday, was cited by Israel as evidence that the blast wasn’t an airstrike.
A video verified by the news agency Storyful shows damage in the parking lot and courtyard of the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital on Wednesday. Photo: Instagram/@mohmmed_awad89
Spendley said that kind of damage appeared more consistent with a fireball from a rocket rather than the kinds of weapons that Israel’s air force uses, such as Joint Direct Action Munition, or JDAM, guided bombs.
“Something like a short-range rocket will cause more fire,” he said. “With something like a JDAM you will get a lot of blast energy, and not as much energy wasted in heat or fire or light. There were some characteristics with the Palestinians killed in the strike that have led me to believe that there was a lot more fire that came from the impact than just pure blast energy.”
Other analysts agreed. Knights said the scene showed it “very clearly was hit by a rolling fireball.” The most plausible cause for that, Knights said, is rocket fuel, consistent with the Israeli military’s explanation that a rocket misfired.
Nathan Ruser, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the scene shown in photos was “not consistent with an airstrike and are not consistent with claims that 500+ people were killed.”
The published images also show a lack of shrapnel patterns associated with Israeli air force bombs, said Justin Bronk, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank in London.
“Still not conclusive, but IF this is the extent of the damage then I’d say an airstrike looks less likely than a rocket failure causing an explosion and fuel fire,” Bronk wrote on X.
A definitive conclusion, Spendley said, would require postmortem analysis of victims and other forensic field work that is unlikely to occur given Gaza’s current conditions.
Islamic Jihad accused Israel of wanting to “evade its responsibility for the brutal massacre it committed.” The militant group called the Israeli accusations that it was responsible “false and baseless.”
Shortly after the explosion, Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour rejected Israeli claims that it wasn’t responsible. “Now they change the story to try to blame the Palestinians. It is a lie,” he said during a press conference at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday.
Hamas also blamed the blast on Israel, calling it a “crime of genocide,” and attacked the U.S. and Western countries for supporting Israel.
Protests erupted Wednesday in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Yemen and Egypt, among other countries, underlining a deep suspicion of Israel’s assertions and evidence.
“Nobody is buying that narrative in this part of the world,” Jordan’s foreign minister told NBC News. “Try and find anybody who is going to believe it in this part of the world,” he said.
Hours after Biden’s visit, Israel said it had agreed to a request from the U.S. president to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through Egypt.
“I was very blunt about the need to get humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Biden told reporters on his flight back to the U.S.
He said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi had agreed to allow 20 trucks of aid into Gaza. That represents around an eighth of what aid workers estimate is needed, and Egyptian officials said the Rafah crossing into Gaza had been destroyed in an Israeli airstrike and needed repairs. It is the only official land crossing in Gaza that Israel doesn’t control.
The Israeli prime minister’s office said Israel wouldn’t allow any aid into Gaza from within its own borders until all the hostages taken by Hamas on Oct 7. are returned.
The explosion at the hospital complicated an already difficult situation in the region.
On Wednesday, protesters gathered in Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Tunisia and in the West Bank, where they clashed with security forces from the Palestinian Authority. In Lebanon and Iraq, protesters tried to break through security barriers leading to the U.S. and French embassies, chanting “death to America” and “death to Israel.”
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Four hospital staff members were injured in the blast, said Suhaila Tarazi, the Palestinian-American director of the hospital, which was founded in the 1880s and funded largely by the European Union and the Episcopal Church. When she visited the hospital Wednesday morning, Tarazi said, windows were shattered and body parts were still scattered around.
Israel has warned hospitals in northern Gaza to evacuate in recent days. But hospitals have ignored the calls, saying that there aren’t enough beds at hospitals in the south to accommodate patients and that many patients can’t be transported on roads that are damaged or blocked with debris from the attacks. Some northern Gaza residents who ignored Israeli warnings to move south have taken shelter in hospitals, believing they would be safe there from attacks.
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, which runs the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, initially put out a statement on Tuesday saying it had been struck “during Israeli airstrikes.”
Protesters waved Egyptian and Palestinian flags in Giza, Egypt, on Wednesday. PHOTO: STRINGER/ZUMA PRESS
A scene at the Gaza hospital compound on Tuesday. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SABER/SHUTTERSTOCK
On Wednesday, Hosam Naoum, the Anglican archbishop in Jerusalem, declined to assign blame during a news conference. Naoum said the hospital’s parking lot, and not the hospital building itself, was directly hit.
Naoum declined to discuss a death toll, but said up to 5,000 people had taken refuge in the hospital compound at various points in recent days.
“We know the casualties were many,” said the archbishop, without elaborating. He called on Biden to push for justice and peace.
The deaths at the hospital prompted Jordan to cancel a meeting in Amman with Biden and the Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders to discuss the situation in Gaza, Jordan’s foreign minister said Wednesday. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left Jordan and returned to the West Bank, senior Arab officials said.
Since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas, Israel has been carrying out a relentless air-bombing campaign on Gaza aimed at Hamas militants and their operational infrastructure. Israel is preparing for a major ground offensive in Gaza, although it hasn’t committed to it yet.
Palestinians gathered around the wreckage at the Gaza City hospital on Wednesday. PHOTO: BELAL KHALED/ANADOLU/GETTY IMAGES
The war is already shaping up as one of the deadliest rounds of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Some 1,400 Israelis were killed in the Hamas attack, and at least 200 hostages were taken to Gaza. Before the hospital blast, 3,000 people had been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. The death toll couldn’t be independently verified.
Around one million people are displaced within Gaza, the U.N. said Wednesday, roughly half of the enclave’s population
Summer Said, Daniel Michaels, Vivian Salama, Michael R. Gordon, Chao Deng, Fatima AbdulKarim and Dov Lieber contributed to this article.
Write to Margherita Stancati at firstname.lastname@example.org, Yaroslav Trofimov at email@example.com, Nancy A. Youssef at firstname.lastname@example.org and Stephen Kalin at email@example.com