|Crowd throngs outside Al Shifa hospital, Gaza City, |
November 2012 [Image Source]
TIME Magazine's non-committal review of what happened this week at a certain medical facility in rocket-rich Gaza ["Israel and Hamas traded blame..."] is one of many fresh exemplars of this failure of common sense and of journalistic ethics. There is a long, depressing list of others.
Al-Shifa Hospital (Al-Shifa means "healing" in Arabic) is Gaza's main hospital. Originally an army barracks for the British when they ruled the area prior to 1948, it was transformed into a medical center during the Mandate, but on a limited scale as a center for the treatment of febrile diseases and for purposes of quarantine. Israel took control of Gaza in 1967 after blunting Egypt's unsuccessful aggression. During the 1980's, according to Wikipedia, it underwent major renovation as part of Israel's efforts to provide hugely improved living and medical conditions for the chronically-neglected Gazan Arabs.
Israel abandoned the Gaza Strip in 2005, and soon afterwards it fell under the jackboot of the Islamists of Hamas. Wikipedia describes what happened next:
Hamas used Al-Shifa hospital as bunker and refuge, knowing it will be spared by air-strikes. Ahmed Jabari hid there during the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict... Hamas members have taken control of wards in Shifa Hospital... using them for interrogation and imprisonment, while withholding medical care.During mid-July 2014, after the current Gaza war had gotten underway, the reality of today's Shifa was captured in an eye-witness article published in one of the world's leading newspapers:
At the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, crowds gathered to throw shoes and eggs at the Palestinian Authority’s health minister, who represents the crumbling “unity government” in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The minister was turned away before he reached the hospital, which has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices [Washington Post, July 14, 2014]Reinforcing the point, Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal tweeted this photo of a Hamas official unabashedly using Shifa Hospital for his media interviews:
A reporter for Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat (Helsinki Times), Aishi Zidan, has now revealed on camera, and in the clearest way, that the terrorist forces of Hamas are firing rockets from the hospital. (YouTube has a sub-titles option; to see the English-language translation, make sure the option is selected on your computer.)
UPDATE Sunday August 3, 2014: And here's a reporter who became aware of Hamas' tactics a moment too late for the story she was filling: