In the Gaza war, now probably winding down, when you’re not hearing that Israel is supposedly attacking a school you’re hearing that it’s supposedly attacking a hospital. What’s going on? Is Israel really a monstrously aggressive country?
Seemingly hospitals, of all institutions, should be immune from war. Hospitals are the only place where some of the harms of war, physical harms caused to individual human beings, can be remedied. Hospitals are for healing, not combat.
So what’s happening? Why do hospitals seem to be part of the fighting? A look at some recent, and less recent, scenarios from this conflict will help give an answer.
On Friday, August 1, a Finnish reporter let the cat out of the bag, openly acknowledging something that others among the myriad reporters now swarming in Gaza have not been eager to disclose. This TV correspondent for the Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat tells her viewers that “right in the back parking lot of Shifa Hospital [in Gaza], a rocket was launched at two o’clock in the morning… the sound of it was really loud.”
A onetime event? Not at all: “It’s true,” she states, “that rockets are launched here from the Gazan side into Israel.”
In conveying that simple fact, the reporter was breaking protocol. As Algemeiner notes:
The Al Shifa Hospital, in particular, has been an area of focus after journalists reported that Hamas was using the hospital as a headquarters, but many of their reports were withdrawn, deleted on social media or actually taken off their newspaper websites because of fears for their safety and retribution from Hamas for reporting the truth.
For her part the Finnish reporter, Aishi Zidan, later complained bitterly that her story “became quickly a tool of propaganda” for people “just looking for excuses to Israeli actions in Gaza.” Well, people can use facts for whatever propaganda purposes they want. Isn’t it supposed to be the intrepid media’s job to give us the facts in the first place?