Speaking after a meeting with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in California, US President Joe Biden has continued to push the Israeli narrative that al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City was used as a “military headquarters” by Hamas.
Biden said that Hamas committed “war crimes” by having a headquarters there. However, Israel has presented little in the way of proof of any such headquarters, despite having been functionally in control of the hospital, which is full of medical staff, displaced people and patients, including premature babies, who have been taken out of incubators because of a lack of power and oxygen.
Israel has for weeks said that al-Shifa sits on top of a grand Hamas command and control centre. Apart from a small amount of weaponry supposedly inside the hospital filmed by the Israeli army, the providence of which is unknown, it has presented no evidence of any such structure. Biden has continued to back Israel, however, saying that the US also has intelligence that al-Shifa was a Hamas base, but refusing to share that intelligence.
Biden did say that the US had asked Israel to be “incredibly careful” in its operation in al-Shifa. Israel has sent bulldozers into the hospital, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, and has fired upon the medical complex, killing a number of civilians.
Human rights organisations have stressed that attacks on hospitals are war crimes under international law.