From Kunduz to Gaza, how US and Israel have normalized hospital bombings

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By Adil Hameed

On the eve of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli warplanes raided a hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip, killing at least 700 people, mostly children and women.

The exact death toll in the devastating strike on Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza is not known yet, with some reports putting it at more than 1,000. It was a massacre, according to eyewitnesses.

Despite attempts by the Israeli regime to shift the blame on the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in that order, evidence suggests that it was the regime’s handiwork.

Hamas said the attack mostly killed internally displaced people who had taken refuge at the hospital, considering it safe amid the indiscriminate Israeli aerial blitz that has so far claimed the lives of 3,300 people in the Gaza Strip.

The fact that the hospital bombing came hours before Biden landed at the Tel Aviv airport is telling.

Biden has unequivocally and unashamedly defended the Israeli regime’s ongoing genocide in the coastal Gaza Strip, even amplifying unsubstantiated claims that were denied by Israeli officials themselves.

He said he had seen the video in which Israeli children were “beheaded” by Hamas fighters, parroting the lie that was started by an Israeli journalist and later repeated by the Israeli regime premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman on a live show broadcast by CNN news network.

The claim eventually proved to be a hoax, but the American president did not bother to offer an apology.

At a joint press conference with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Biden said Washington would provide the embattled regime with everything it needed to “defend itself”  while repeating another crude Israeli lie that the hospital attack was caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.

US president likened the Hamas resistance group to Daesh and described the group’s ‘Al-Aqsa Storm’ (also called Al-Aqsa Flood) operation in the wee hours of Saturday morning last week as “slaughter”.

 “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was, not you. But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got to overcome a lot of things,” Biden told Netanyahu, giving him a clean chit.

Biden’s unfounded assertions came after the Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari showed imagery and asserted that the propellant from the rocket had ignited and caused the explosion.

The fact that Netanyahu ordered the deadly strike hours before Biden’s arrival and eventually got the clean chit from the US president shows the war crime was carried out with Washington’s backing.

The bombing of hospitals and other civilian facilities is not an alien concept for American war-mongers themselves.  They have done it in multiple countries, including Afghanistan and Iraq, for decades.

The anniversary of the bombing of Kunduz Trauma Center in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province on October 3, 2015 – including its intensive care unit, emergency rooms, laboratory, x-ray unit, outpatient department, mental health and physiotherapy ward – was observed just two weeks ago.

At least 42 people, including patients, staff and caretakers, were killed in the devastating attack carried out by an American gunship, which marked one of the deadliest chapters in the 20-year-long war.

The hospital was operated by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) and the only thing Americans did was “apologize” to MSF. The victims and their families were never provided justice.

According to eyewitnesses, the US AC-130 Hercules gunship fired 211 shells on the main hospital building where Afghan patients were sleeping in their beds or were being operated on in the operation theatre.

The then-US commander in Afghanistan John F Campbell later admitted that the hospital was “mistakenly struck”, without a shred of remorse and without any promise of justice and accountability.

Americans destroyed hospitals in Iraq as well during years of military occupation of the Arab country.

In April 2003, US aircraft pounded a Red Crescent maternity hospital in Baghdad, killing several people. The 56-bedroom Al-Mansour hospital was the first IRCS health facility in the war-torn country.

The list of hospitals and other public facilities bombed by American forces, as well as their British counterparts, is quite long. Zionists have followed the same model to instill fear in Palestinians.

However, these formulas are bound to fail. They failed in Afghanistan and Iraq and now they are failing in Palestine. The hospital bombing on Tuesday night has only galvanized the Palestinian resistance.

It has also exposed the deep alliance between Zionists and Americans and how they have backed each other’s horrendous war crimes for years, including the bombardment of hospitals and killing of civilians.

The international law is clear on hospital bombings. The Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons during war prohibits the targeting of civilians, especially in schools and hospitals.

But, as we all know, international law does not apply to lawless entities.

Adil Hameed is an Afghan writer and activist currently based in the UK.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV)

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