Gareth Porter: IDF Knew Real Hamas HQ While Lying About al-Shifa
Posted by sashimi on November 26, 2023, 9:26 pm
23 Nov 2023
Although corporate news media have made it clear they don't buy the Israel
Defense Forces (IDF) claim that al-Shifa Hospital has been a cover for a Hamas
command and control center and weapons armory, Western media have failed to
report a much bigger story.
The IDF and the Israeli government already knew when they launched their
propaganda campaign about al-Shifa that Hamas had no military command and
control facility hidden there because it had already found the complex
As Consortium News reported last week, for 15 years the Israelis claimed Hamas
was operating its primary command and control base from a tunnel underneath
al-Shifa. After the Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza began in October, the
Israeli military amplified that message to press its contention that by hiding
the Hamas high command, al-Shifa Hospital had lost its immunity from military
operations under the law of war, and could now legitimately be taken over by
On Nov. 11, IDF spokesman Richard Hecht declared that al-Shifa was the "main hub
of Hamas activity;" Newsweek reported the IDF regarded al-Shifa Hospital as
"Hamas's main command post" and the Times of Israel headlined "Hamas leaders
again hiding under hospital".
The crescendo of Israeli propaganda about al-Shifa being a "human shield" for
Hamas came with a long report published by The New York Times on Nov. 14. It was
based on interviews with eight present and former intelligence and defense
officials, describing a vast military command complex under al-Shifa with
But something quite unexpected had happened during this new round of press
stories on al-Shifa that completely demolished the entire IDF story line: the
IDF had gained control of the real Hamas command and control center in an area
where the Hamas leadership had previously had their above-ground offices in the
Al Atatra neighborhood, in the extreme northwest of Beit Lahiya city, 8.5km away
After that office building was demolished, the IDF discovered a major tunnel
facility that was quite certain had been the central headquarters for the Hamas
high command - the command and control center for the entire war.
As the IDF leaked to The Jerusalem Post in a story published Nov. 14, the
discovery was made "several days ago" of a tunnel with an elevator that reached
thirty meters underground, compared with only five meters underground in other
tunnels. Furthermore it had been equipped with oxygen, air conditioning and
more advanced communications than seen anywhere else.
That major IDF discovery, made on or before the Nov. 11 false stories about
al-Shifa, threatened to undermine the Israeli political campaign to justify the
IDF's takeover and destruction of Gaza's hospitals on the grounds that they were
"human shields" for Hamas.
Al-Shifa Hospital was the centerpiece of that campaign, based on the claim that
it was hiding the high command of Hamas in a tunnel underneath it. Obviously the
IDF and the extreme right-wing Israel government would want to stop all further
publicity about the discovery of the actual Hamas high command's underground
No story about the discovery of the real Hamas high command bunker has been
published inside Israel or elsewhere in the nearly two weeks since the detailed
Jerusalem Post piece on Nov. 14. Somehow the Israeli government and media have
been able to completely suppress the discovery of the Hamas headquarters,
despite the fact that a number of foreign news media have offices in Tel Aviv
and the story is still available on the internet.
Instead of forcing a major climb-down by the IDF and the Netanyahu and the Biden
administrations, the discovery of the real Hamas underground high-command center
merely brought a slight revision in the wording used to refer to the issue.
-- Cont'd at https://consortiumnews.com/2023/11/23/idf-knew-real-hamas-hq-while-lying-about-al-shifa/