The video showing apparent firing from an annex to the Al-Wafa Rehab and Geriatric Hospital was actually shot in 2008-09 ” and the audio clip accompanying it was from an incident unrelated to Al Wafa.
Elham Asaad Buaras
Israel presented the world’s media with an extremely manipulated 2009 video to prove Hamas fighters fired missiles from a hospital during the latest assault on Gaza, according to an exposé by a US-based NGO.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) repeatedly claimed that Hamas fighters fired from hospitals to justify striking 22 health centres, its only evidence came in the shape of a short video clip allegedly showing flashes of gunfire at Al-Wafa Hospital.
The Al-Wafa Rehab and Geriatric Hospital was completely destroyed by Israeli bombardment during the first few days of the Israeli ground invasion. Al-Wafa Hospital is located near al-Shuja’iyya neighbourhood, where hundreds of residents were buried under the rubble of their homes following several days of constant missile strikes by the IDF.
However Truthout.org has since revealed the clip was actually a several spliced together pieces of tape – one of which was from 2009, another of which had a satellite-looking image of a building with a red arrow pointing at a building marked ‘Al Wafa Hospital’ – when the building in the image is in fact the Right to Life Society building.
And an audio recording of a conversation between a Palestinian informant and an IDF officer was actually from a different incident altogether.
Executive Director of Al-Wafa Hospital, Dr Basman Alashi, said the eight seconds of the video released by the IDF purporting to show a couple of flashes of gunfire from a window of the hospital were not from the 2014 but were from 2009, when the hospital had been evacuated and was briefly used by fighters.
Truthout.org investigator Gareth Porter writes, “That building was, in fact, attacked on January 16, 2009, by Israeli tanks only 70 meters away from the hospital, damaging the third and fourth floors of the building – the very floors from which the flashes are shown in the video – as the UN Fact-Finding Mission noted in its September 2009 report.”
“The last segment of the video showing the bombing of the Al-Wafa Hospital, bears the legend ‘secondary explosion’ – meaning explosions of weapons – as each building is shown being destroyed, in line with the Israeli argument throughout the operation that Hamas stored rockets and other weapons in hospitals, schools and mosques.
“The video first shows the hospital itself being blown up, followed by heavy billowing smoke covering the entire hospital and then another flash of fire. But the former intelligence official who viewed the video said that flash indicated another Israeli missile strike on the target rather than a secondary explosion.”
“The clip then cuts to the destruction of the annex, again with the ‘secondary explosion’ legend. The billowing smoke from the initial bomb explosion covers the building and, then, two or three small puffs of darker smoke appear. Those puffs of smoke would suggest a secondary explosion, according to the former US intelligence officer. But he also observed that a hospital would have flammable materials other than hidden weapons that could cause the darker smoke to appear. ”
“Given the existence of Hamas’ complex network of tunnels, which provided plenty of storage space for its rockets and other weaponry, it would have made no sense for Hamas to store rockets in a hospital that it knew had already been targeted by the IDF.”
In its final seconds, the video focuses in to show a square which the legend describes as a ‘tunnel opening near Al Wafa’ the tunnel was in fact a water well.