The war crimes of the Israeli occupying army against Palestinian civilians are countless and attest to the barbarity with which the colonialist and racist state of Israel seeks to get rid of the Palestinian question. But the targeting of hospitals is beyond all bounds of understanding. So what explains such relentlessness against hospitals?
Israeli accusations that Hamas uses hospitals as military infrastructures or even as command centers, accusations complacently echoed by Western states and media, make no sense. Indeed, Israeli propaganda has continued to spread this lie, particularly targeting Al Shifa hospital since the start of the war. If this information really had an ounce of credibility, would Hamas have continued to use this place six weeks later?
In fact, the Israeli army’s attacks on Gaza hospitals, as revolting as they are, have a logical explanation from the point of view of Israeli strategy.
For many years, Gaza’s hospitals have become a symbol of the resilience of the Palestinian people. First, they do remarkable work on the medical level, as attested by all the humanitarians who have had the opportunity to work in Gaza.
Then, they also serve as a place of refuge for thousands of civilians who believe they are safe from bombing in or near hospitals and who in fact refuse to obey the order issued by the Israeli army to leave the north from Gaza.
Furthermore, Gaza’s hospitals constitute the most emblematic link with the outside world through the links forged for years with international humanitarian organizations.
Given these missions, Gaza’s hospitals have become a real obstacle to the achievement of the strategic and tactical objectives outlined by Israeli leaders.
The latter make no secret of their desire to push the 2 million Gazans towards the Egyptian Sinai or, failing that, towards other destinations. A document from the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence, dating from before the war and passages of which had leaked to the press, attests to this.
More recently, the Israeli Minister of Finance, Israeli ultranationalist Bezalel Smotrich that The world did not hesitate to qualify as an “ultra-nationalist” and a “Jewish supremacist” and publicly declared that the humanitarian solution to the problem of the Palestinians in Gaza would be their emigration abroad.
In a recent column published by the American daily The Wall Street Journal, two Israeli Likud MPs invited Western countries to accept, in a “humanitarian” gesture, Palestinians who would like to leave Gaza.
The targeting of hospitals therefore pursues tactical and strategic objectives clearly defined by Israeli leaders:
On the tactical levelthe targeting of hospitals aims to force the civilians taking refuge there to initially leave towards the south of Gaza to empty the north of the enclave of any civilian population in order to facilitate the operations of the Israeli army aimed at destroy the tunnels in which Palestinian fighters shelter by means of “sponge bombs” (a foam system which hardens after explosion) or by gassing as was recently mentioned by the Middle East Eye.
On the strategic levelthe targeting of hospitals aims to carry out the project mentioned in the draft of the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence which consists of expelling Palestinians from Gaza to the Egyptian Sinai or failing that to other destinations abroad as part of what some Israeli media themselves do not hesitate to call a new “Nakba” (in reference to the great expulsion of 1948).
In the international impunity provided by American protection, the Israeli army no longer seems to have a red line. She gives the impression that she is ready to do anything to carry out what can be called a major ethnic cleansing operation.
The only two random factors that could prevent it are a resounding military failure on the ground or a last minute change within the American Administration following pressure from public opinion and the risks of serious regional destabilization that could cause a military operation whose sophistication of means is matched only by the dark archaism of the vengeful motivations that drive its leaders.