The day ends at the Wailing Wall and a large procession that comes from praying immerses itself in the network of tunnels of the most sacred Jewish place. Leading the way are the grieving relatives of Benjamin Elmakayes, one of the 49 Israeli soldiers the army acknowledges have died so far in the Gaza offensive. Yesterday marked the seventh and last day of the shiv’ah, the mandatory Jewish mourning, and the Orthodox family went to the brand new Sha’arei Teshuva underground synagogue, where attendees also face a section of the wall, separated by sex. They have chosen this synagogue because Benjamin worked on this archaeological site that transports you to the Second Temple era through tunnels that run under the Muslim quarter.
A hundred kilometers from Jerusalem, in Gaza City, there are other more dangerous cavities. The Israeli army has not specified whether Elmakayes, a 29-year-old sergeant in the Corps of Engineers in the reserve, died in one of the tunnels in the strip, where the occupying troops have been concentrated around the Al Shifa hospital for five days.
The siege of the main health center in the Palestinian enclave has provoked the umpteenth international reaction against Israel due to the effects collaterals that his decision to put an end to Hamas at any cost provokes the civilian population, including children and the sick, since yesterday the Israeli troops searched the hospital rooms one by one.
“There is no place in Gaza that we cannot reach. There are no hiding places. There is no refuge for Hamas,” said Israeli Prime Minister Beniamin Netanyahu, taking his chest out of an operation from which his main foreign ally, the United States, distanced itself, in a new wake-up call from the White House. “We did not give the green light to their military operations around the hospital,” said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby yesterday, asking Israel to take “special care.” However, Kirby himself had assured on Tuesday that Hamas uses Al Shifa as if it were a barracks, the same thesis that Israel maintains. “They have stored weapons there and are prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against that facility,” Kirby said.
London and Moscow join in abstaining from the resolution, which also calls for humanitarian corridors
The Israeli army reported yesterday that during its search of Al Shifa hospital they had found “an operational command center, weapons and technological assets” at the MRI center. Showing only a video of the material supposedly located, the military sources concluded that everything confirms that the hospital is used “for terrorist purposes” and in the same statement they added that they had found uniforms from the Al Qasam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. The army also suspects that some of the 240 Israeli hostages kidnapped in the October 7 terrorist attack may have been in the health center, although none were found and no irrefutable evidence was shown. Those responsible for the hospital deny the presence of members of the Islamist organization in the center, nor of the hostages.
Al Shifa Hospital houses 3,000 Palestinians, including medical personnel, the sick and refugees. It has no electricity, water or food, and the Gaza Ministry of Health claims that these hardships have already caused the deaths of at least 40 patients, including three babies. For its part, the Israeli army says it has made incubators and other medical supplies available to the center. War is also informational.
Among the many international voices that have questioned Israel’s military intervention in Al Shifa is that of the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Hospitals cannot be battlefields and we are extremely concerned about the safety of staff and patients,” Ghebreyesus declared yesterday, adding that attacks on the hospital are “totally unacceptable.”
For her part, the executive director of Unicef, Catherine Russell, expressed her “desolation” after finishing her visit to the strip. “Parties to the conflict are committing serious violations against children, including murder, mutilation, kidnapping, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of access to humanitarian aid. From Unicef, we condemn all of this,” Russell said in a statement, which included the data of 4,600 children killed and another 9,000 minors injured by Israel’s attack on Gaza. Israeli bombings have already killed at least 11,300 Palestinians in the strip, although the death toll is probably higher, as there are still many bodies in the rubble of destroyed buildings.
Gaza is hell for the civilian population, but Israel has still brought back to the strip a thousand Palestinians from the enclave who were working in the West Bank. The same day that another 24 Hispano-Palestinians received authorization to leave the territory at war.
The director general of the WHO denounces the use of the Al Shifa hospital as a “battlefield”
At the beginning of the offensive, Israel asked the inhabitants of northern Gaza to move south so that they would not be affected by the bombings, although it has also attacked the south of the strip, including Rafah, on the border. with Egypt. However, yesterday the Israeli air force dropped leaflets on the towns near the southern city of Khan Younis asking the population to evacuate their homes.
Meanwhile, yesterday Netanyahu and Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again clashed dialectically after the Turkish president assured that Israel is a “terrorist state” and, at the same time, defended the legitimacy of Hamas. “I say openly that Israel is a terrorist state. Others say that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Hamas participated in the elections and won in Palestine,” Erdogan said. And Netanyahu replied: “He himself (Erdogan) bombed Turkish villages, within Turkey’s borders. We will not accept sermons from him,” said the Israeli premier, referring to the attacks by the Turkish army in Kurdistan.