Saturday, October 21, 2023

Gaza war 2023: The Baptist Hospital Massacre

For the past 72 hours, the world's attention shifted away from the ongoing situation in Gaza, marked by countless war crimes against its citizens, including the enduring inhuman siege. 

Instead, the focus turned to the defense of the Israeli army against allegations of bombing  Al-Ahli Al-Arabi Hospital, known among Palestinians simply as the Baptist Hospital.

Ahli Al-Arabi Hospital commonly known as the Baptist Hospital

Established in 1882, the Baptist Al-Ahli Al-Arabi Hospital, or the Baptist National Arab Hospital, stands as one of Gaza's oldest medical institutions. Managed by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, this institution is a unique complex encompassing both a church and hospital buildings.

The Dean of Jerusalem's St. George's College, Reverend Richard Sewell, who supervises the hospital, informed the BBC on Tuesday that, by the end of the previous week, approximately 6,000 displaced individuals, mostly Muslims, had sought refuge in the hospital's courtyard.

Gaza's Baptist Hospital in the early 19th century
Gaza's Baptist Hospital in the early 19th century 

In the preceding week, an Israeli airstrike caused damage to a section of the hospital complex. 

However, a heartwarming video shortly before the bombardment revealed that the courtyard had been transformed into a playground, offering a glimmer of solace to Palestinian children amid the relentless turmoil of war by volunteers like late artist Mohammed Sami. “A painter, Sami who recorded the video was killed in the bombing. It was his last video”

President Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, Archbishop in Jerusalem Hosam Naoum, announced that the Israeli army made contact with the Baptist Hospital in Gaza for three consecutive days, spanning Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. During these communications, the Israeli military issued warnings of a potential strike on the hospital.

These alerts were part of a wider set of warnings and directives to Palestinians, urging them to evacuate North Gaza, in what can be described as "forced displacement" as simple as that.

Approximately 15 hospitals received such warnings during this period, including the Baptist Hospital.

Tragically, on Tuesday, the Baptist/Al-Ahli Al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza fell victim to a bombing, leading to initial reports from Palestinian health officials suggesting that no fewer than 500 people lost their lives.

The doctors in the hospital held a presser while surrounded by the victims' dead bodies

The Baptist hospital's doctors held a presser surrounded by the victims' dead bodies in a scene I would not forget. 

Baptist Hospital in Gaza
A scene not to be forgotten, a presser surrounded by dead bodies from all ages
Mohamed Masri for Getty Images

Father Richard Sewell solemnly confirmed that the hospital had been directly targeted by an Israeli missile.

Eyewitnesses at the hospital have confirmed that it was struck by an Israeli missile. The presence of an Al-Jazeera team in close proximity allowed them to capture the distressing scene live on air, triggering outrage not only in the Arab world but across the globe.

The targeting of a hospital administered by the Episcopal Church could potentially pose a more significant problem for the Israeli government than the displacement of over one and a half million people from their homes, the bombing of bakeries, schools, and shelters, or the tragic loss of civilian lives, a majority of whom are women and children as it seems.

In response to the hospital bombing, the Israeli army initiated an online campaign of contradictory misinformation within a very short timeframe, in less than two hours. Initially, they placed blame on Hamas, alleging that they had misfired a rocket, only to later shift the blame to Islamic Jihad for the same reason.

These claims weren't limited to written statements; Israeli social media accounts shared alleged video clips purporting to implicate Palestinian militant resistance groups. However, discrepancies arose as the timestamps on these videos didn't match the actual timing of the bombardment. 

For instance, one video had a timestamp of 8 p.m., which was 40 minutes after the real bombardment occurred. Additionally, Reuters Fact Checker discovered that one video shared was from 2022. Despite the prompt removal and deletion of these videos from official accounts, screenshots of them persist.

Notably, it wasn't just videos that were deleted. A tweet featuring part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the Knesset, translated into English, was also removed.

Netanyahu's deleted tweet
Netanyahu's deleted tweet 

I saw the tweet with my own eyes where he compared his fight with Hamas to a "struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle."

On Wednesday US President Joe Biden arrived in Israel to show support. He claimed that the Pentagon officials told him that Hamas caused the bombing. I won’t remind you that this is the man who said that he saw photos of beheaded babies when he did not. “I hate to say but the only beheaded baby I saw in this war so far was a Palestinian.”

Hours later, the Israeli army held a press conference where it unveiled an alleged audio clip for a phone call between two Hamas operatives discussing the “Islamic Jihad rocket”!!

The alleged operatives did not speak in a Gazan accent but more of an accent that is close to a Lebanese accent according to Palestinians and Lebanese, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

It was amazing to see how the Israeli army could intercept a telephone call like this while it could not pinpoint the location of the Israeli hostages, nor it could predict the 7th of October attack.

British Channel 4's Alex Thompson published a highly interesting report about the call.

There's also another question: Is it Jihad, as the Israeli army claims, or is it Hamas, as Biden and the Pentagon claim?

This confusion and contradiction raise suspicions regarding the statements of the US administration and the Israeli army.

The Israeli army has a long history of falsehoods in relation to the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict, and the US Pentagon also has a lengthy history of untruths, most notably concerning the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

I am not an expert in ammunition or missiles, and there has been a debate about the type of missile used. However, according to some correspondents, Hamas rockets do not typically cause this level of damage. In fact, they generally result in minimal damage compared to what struck the Baptist hospital on Tuesday.

Investigative Journalism Group Belling Cat stated that according to preliminary investigation based on imagery the missile used was a bomb used in Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) as some people claimed online. The BBC also issued its own preliminary investigation report based on imagery and video

Al Jazeera International released another report based on video and imagery refuting the Israeli army's claim that the strike on the hospital was caused by a failed rocket launch.

The Turkish Presidential Directorate of Communications' Center for Combating Disinformation (DMM) also presented its report refuting the Israeli claims bringing up that 2022 video.

Some Arab internet sleuths uncovered unverified screenshots that seemed to indicate Israeli army involvement in the bombing. 

One of these screenshots allegedly showed activity in the largest Russian-language Jewish chat rooms on Telegram. Moments before the bombing, a message appeared stating that Gaza awaited a 'gift.' After the bombing occurred, the same user sent a message saying, 'Did you see the gift? We promised it to you. Hamas is in great anger because of the gift.'

 These messages were purportedly deleted once the extent of casualties became clear."

Additionally, Arab internet sleuths discovered that Hananya Naftali, an Israeli influencer and a social media aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, made a public statement confirming the bombing of the Gaza hospital by Israel. However, he quickly deleted the post.

Nafatli's alleged deleted tweet
Nafatli's alleged deleted tweet

They also alleged finding a post from Avichay Adraee, the infamous and notorious Arabic spokesperson for the Israeli army, on Telegram at 8:17 in Arabic. 

Adraee's post stated that 'The Israeli army had warned of the evacuation of the Baptist Hospital and five other hospitals to prevent them from being taken over by the Hamas terrorist organization.' Adraee's post was subsequently deleted.

From its side, Hamas issued a statement denying the allegations against it calling the ICC to investigate the matter.

On Friday, Sonic Investigative NGO Earshot announced that after analyzing the audio clip released by the Israeli army, they concluded that it had been manipulated and could not be considered credible evidence to prove anything.

On the same day, the renowned independent university-based research agency, Forensic Architecture, released its preliminary research report, which also raised doubts about the Israeli army's claims.

Officially Arab governments like Egypt and Jordan say that the Baptist hospital was bombed by Israel. 

As Arabs who learnt by heart how the Israeli army’s lying machine operates, we know that 99.999999999% Israel is behind it.

The other hospitals, the other war crimes

It is striking how Western media have largely ignored the explicit war crimes committed by the Israeli army and instead focused solely on the Baptist hospital, adopting the army's version of events despite being banned from entering Gaza.

If Western media believes that the Israeli army did nothing wrong at the Baptist hospital, it raises questions about the numerous other war crimes and violations of international law.

 Over 4,100 people have been killed in Gaza, including nearly 1,500 children. On Thursday alone, 352 people were killed, and 669 others were injured. Additionally, at least 1,600 people are buried under destroyed buildings.

Gaza officials have reported that 64% of the victims in Gaza since October 7 have been women and children. The Israeli army has bombarded approximately 23 mosques and a church, and it has ordered 1.1 million people to leave North Gaza in an action that constitutes 'Forced displacement,' a war crime.

The Israeli army has also cut off water and electricity in Gaza, preventing the entry of food and medicine, which is a clear violation of international law. 

According to the UNRWA, only eight out of 22 health centers in the Middle, Khan Younis, and Rafah are providing primary healthcare services to critical outpatient cases and patients in need of treatment for non-communicable diseases. 

Medicines are in short supply, with only around 15 days' worth remaining overall and just one week's supply of insulin. Some items may run out even sooner based on the needs at shelters.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), there have been 17 confirmed journalist deaths, 8 journalists reported as injured, and 3 journalists reported as missing or detained in the Gaza war.

While Western media and Western intelligence agencies like the CIA and French intelligence may claim that the Israeli army did not bomb the Baptist hospital, the litany of other crimes I've mentioned remains. This is only preliminary research, and I'm doing it while extremely tired.

Personally, I would like to see an independent UN investigation into the events that have occurred since October 7, 2023, but I recognize the challenges in achieving this. 

The Israeli government has a history of avoiding accountability and escaping repercussions, as seen in incidents such as the Deir Yassin massacre, the killing of Egyptian POWs in 1956 and 1967, the Qena Massacre, and the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh. 

Unfortunately, it won't be the first time, and regrettably, it may not be the last time, despite our hopes and prayers.

1 comment:

  1. Z, come on. Please. SMH.The evidence Israel didn't do it is conclusive, abundant, and irrefutable. The Paleostinian Keystone Kops just can't shoot straight. For one thing, Israeli bombs leave craters; they don't just fly around on the ground like oversize fireworks, incinerating everything in their vicinity. Perhaps you're pretending to believe it was Israel out of misplaced camaraderie? That would mean you're not stupid, just dishonest. You appear to be one or the other. I urge you to reevaluate. It is a key test of character to admit your side is wrong, and when you fail it so flagrantly, people stop paying you any attention. That would be a shame. I usually disagree with you, but I enjoy your blog, as I consider you an honest opinion broker.


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