Hamas is using Gaza's Shifa Hospital as a meeting place and even distributed salaries to its operatives there over the weekend, Public Security Minister and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Avi Dichter said Monday morning.Sorry Dichter, but if the Hamas is using the hospital as a refuge it must be bombed, just as Israel did not hesitate to bomb mosques that were being used by the Arabs for military purposes. Our citizens' lives are worth more than the terrorists and their hospitals.
Speaking on Army Radio, Dichter noted that "on Saturday, January 10, which is the day salaries are distributed in Gaza, several Hamas commanders who cannot come out of hiding were given their salaries at their hiding places. But those commanders who can move around Gaza made their way to Shifa Hospital to receive their wages."
Regarding Israeli intelligence reports that the Hamas leadership had taken refuge in Gaza's Shifa Hospital, Dichter said that the "Shifa Hospital has long ago ceased to be just a hospital, just as the UNRWA humanitarian and health services in Gaza long ago ceased to be just humanitarian services providing food and medical services."
"UN schools in Gaza long ago stopped being just schools," the minister said. "All these services and places are refuge for Hamas terrorists and commanders."
Asked why Israel was not acting against Shifa Hospital, Dichter answered that an attack on a hospital could not be carried out "for obvious reasons."
"Shifa is in the middle of a very crowded area in Gaza and you would have to get through half-a-million Gazans to get to the hospital and arrest Hamas people there. So that's not doable. Striking the hospital is out of the question for obvious reasons. So in this case we have to just bite our tongues," he said.
The former Shin Bet chief said that is was common knowledge in Gaza that Hamas holds meeting in the hospital. "Shifa Hospital, which is situated in the more wealthy western part of Gaza City, is a very big hospital, but you can hear from the Palestinians who visit there, it is somewhat of an open secret, that Hamas commanders walk around the hospital, in some instances wearing doctors' robes," he said. "In some cases, the Hamas commanders kick medical teams out of rooms so that they can hold meetings."
The Shin Bet told ministers last week that Hamas leaders were hiding in a basement bunker built by Israel under the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City. The basement at the hospital was refurbished during Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip, Haaretz reported on Monday. The United Nations insists that it keeps Hamas members out of the schools, clinics and other institutions it runs in Gaza.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Shifa Hospital Must Be Destroyed
Shifa hospital in Gaza has become a refuge for Hamas operatives: