Recent claims by the BBC and CNN news networks that the Israel Defense Forces is manipulating the international media were firmly rejected by IDF Spokesperson Brig-Gen. Daniel Hagari on Saturday night.
The two news organizations had published reports suggesting that Israel had “rearranged” the weapons it discovered at Shifa hospital before allowing international news teams into the site.
Hagari said that the only thing that changed before the media was allowed into the area was the relocation and management of explosives for the safety of the journalists.
“We allowed the media to see things firsthand,” said Hagari. “In certain areas, explosives had to be relocated, managed and mines and charges had to be taken away. Only after that could they be brought back to the same room to show the international media."
"We don't permit people to enter rooms filled with grenades and live explosives. The IDF forces can handle that, but international media cannot. When they step into a room, it has to be safe. We clarified things, showed them. Everything is thoroughly recorded with soldiers' cameras - it's all real and trustworthy,” he added.
The IDF assured the media that any discrepancy was because “additional weapons deployed by the terrorists were found during the day,” and that affirmed again that the “allegations of the IDF manipulating the media are untrue.”
In addition, there has been criticism of the IDF’s proclamation of Shifa Hospital as being a significant operational command center for Hamas, with the BBC describing it as a “relatively minor facility” and John Kirby, the spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, saying that “Hamas simply uses Al-Shifa as a 'hub' for command and control.”
Last week, however, Hagari revealed that the IDF found a functioning headquarters, with weapons and technological gear, in Al Shifa Hospital. The combat gear, along with “specialized technical devices” and other Hamas military equipment were found in the MRI section, whereas the Hamas operational headquarters and technological resources were found in another ward inside the hospital.
Hagari made it clear that the findings at Shifa Hospital show that Hamas was using medical centers for their military operations, including changing out their uniforms quickly to avoid detection.
“We came across Hamas soldiers' uniforms just tossed on the hospital floor, suggesting they changed to blend in with civilians,” he said.
IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus also said that the IDF’s discoveries confirm that the Hamas terrorist organization has been using hospitals for military purposes.
“I reckon what we found is just a small part of the whole picture,” Conricus said. He also presented a laptop that IDF soldiers had discovered in the MRI room, saying that its contents were being investigated.
“I'm not sure who it belongs to, but it's under investigation now. Even at a quick look, it seems to have a lot of damning evidence,” he noted.
While the international media demands rigorous accuracy from the IDF, no such demands are put on Hamas, whose publications of Gazan casualty numbers are taken at face value without any evidence and presented as truth.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.