Looking at the pictures of the small tunnel under the hospital makes me laugh. This is not the command and control center of Hamas.
The AK-47s and hand grenades spread out on the ground do not represent anywhere near enough information of a Hamas command and control center with munitions.
Here is what Guardian reports:
Prior to their capture of Dar al-Shifa hospital, the Israel Defense Forces went to great lengths to depict the medical complex as a headquarters for Hamas, from where its attacks on Israel were planned.
The evidence produced so far falls well short of that. IDF videos have shown only modest collections of small arms, mostly assault rifles, recovered from the extensive medical complex.
That suggests an armed presence, but not the sort of elaborate nerve centre depicted in animated graphics presented to the media before al-Shifa was seized, portraying a network of well-equipped subterranean chambers.
Even the videos produced so far have raised questions under scrutiny. A BBC analysis found the footage of an IDF spokesperson showing the apparent discovery of a bag containing a gun behind an MRI scanning machine, had been taped hours before the arrival of the journalists to whom he was supposedly showing it.
“Israel has failed to provide anywhere even close to the level of evidence required to justify the narrow exception under which hospitals can be targeted under the laws of war,” said Mai El-Sadany, a human rights lawyer and the executive director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, in Washington.
“In the rare case that protection is lifted, Israel would have to provide civilians with a meaningful chance to evacuate and even still, any civilians who remain in the hospital following an evacuation order would still be protected by the rules of proportionality,” El-Sadany added. “At every stage of this legal assessment, Israel has fallen abysmally short. It has provided photo and video footage that is far from commensurate with its initial claims.”
At some point, these issues could be submitted to formal judgment. Israel does not recognise the international criminal court, but the court recognises Palestine as a member, and has been conducting an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories since 2021.
The Biden administration has not only defended Israel’s operations but presented independent claims based on its own intelligence about the hospital. John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, framed the alleged Hamas facility there as a command “node” rather than a centre, and a possible weapons store.
The absence of evidence so far, is beginning to recall past US intelligence failures, most dramatically those preceding the Iraq invasion. It further isolates Washington on the world stage, and deepens already significant rifts within the administration itself.