Aaron Menche

The Case for War Crimes

Since the start of the war against Hamas, we hear the daily barrage of media sites insinuating Israel’s culpability in war crimes. The language is very nuanced, and they almost always say “alleged” war crimes. The insinuation is that Israel is not hitting succinct targets but firing indiscriminately as a form of revenge or collective punishment.

Much has been made of the capture of the al-Shifa hospital. Last week when Israel started its slow and methodical takeover of this hospital, the media was very quick to announce how this was most likely a war crime. Hospitals are protected, as they should be, under international law. However, this protection is lost if an “act harmful to the enemy” is occurring from the hospital. Israel has said, and American intelligence has confirmed that under al-Shifa, Hamas has a major command and control center.

It is not only Israel and the USA who has been saying this. In 2014 Amnesty International issued a report that Hamas is using the hospital to “detain, interrogate, torture … suspects.”

In 2008 the NY Times reported that one of its journalists actually saw armed men in civilian clothes in the hospital as well as an execution. For some reason the truth that Israel puts forth is considered as accurate, for the world media, as that of Hamas. What Israel will find in the hospital will mean a lot (for a little while at least). After being in the hospital for a few days, Israel has started to release proof, including video showing tunnels, weapons and perhaps most damning a time stamped video showing Hostages being brought to the hospital on Oct 7th. It has been said that it could take months for Israel to uncover everything that Hamas has under the hospital.

I am not an expert in international law (though it seems that many college students in the USA are) but I think the case should and can be made that people who aid and abet war crimes should be held responsible as well. For example- Muhammed Abu Salmiya, the head of the al-Shifa hospital. He has been one of the most trusted and quoted sources since the beginning of the war. Almost every news outlet has quoted him. He is obviously very trusted because he runs a hospital. His only agenda apparently is his patients’ care and safety. I have only once seen it reported that his brother was a senior field commander for Hamas who was involved for over a decade in terrorist activities This same brother was eliminated by the IDF in 2004. You would think that should be part of the story. Perhaps he might have a second agenda. In any case, this trusted source has said many times over the years that al-Shifa does not have a Hamas command and control center, does not have armed members of Hamas in the hospital, was not holding hostages, well, you get the idea. As Israel will prove with much more damning evidence soon, this is not true. This would imply that Mr. Abu Salmiya is an accomplice to all of the actions taking place at the hospital.

Another accomplice is the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. WHO oversees the hospitals in Gaza. He and other members of his organization are also responsible for aiding Hamas. Just this week, a group from WHO went to al-Shifa calling it a death trap without mentioning Hamas at all. This was picked up as major news all over the world. As I was writing this the Israeli Health Ministry called the WHO out on this. They said “It is now clear that the WHO, at the very least, turned a blind eye to the use of health facilities to carry out acts of terror and as human shields by preventing civilians from leaving those facilities.”

While we are at it, how about UNWRA leader, Philippe Lazzarini. If there is any organization in the world that has prevented the Palestinians from having a state, it is the UNWRA. The UNWRA runs many programs for Palestinian refugees, which, because of UNWRA self-definition, are the only multi-generational refugees in the world. UNWRA first changed the accepted definition of a refugee ( which for everyone else includes only those who were actually displaced) in 1965 to include up to the third generation. In 1982 they changed it to include any descendant (patrilineality).

Permanent refugees till the end of time.

One of the things the UNWRA is in charge of is Gazan schools. This is where, from a very young age, Gazan children are taught to reject peace, glorify terrorists and incite violence. This is well documented and was pointed out on April 28th, 2021, when the EU passed a resolution that called for hateful material to be removed and saying that going forward EU donations will depend on this happening. Besides teaching hate, it is known that Hamas takes resources earmarked for the UNWRA, such as fuel. This was posted on X (formerly Twitter) by the UNWRA at the beginning of the war, quickly to be removed. A few days later, on October 17th, the UNWRA announced that there was one day left of fuel which turned out to be a total lie and was most likely so they could get fuel for Hamas. Clearly, the UNWRA has been complicit in not only promoting hate against Jews and Israel, but also trying very hard to help Hamas secure needed resources.

Another person I who deserves mention is, the leader of the Red Cross, Mirjana Spoljaric. The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, is supposed to be a neutral party in times of conflict. They are supposed to be the conduit between hostages and those trying to free them. The ICRC, through the Red Crescent, is in charge of ambulances in Gaza. It is known that Hamas uses ambulances to transport their fighters and weapons, which is a clear violation of international law. This was once again proven when Israel released a recording, on November 8th, of a Hamas commander saying he can get around Gaza via ambulance whenever he wants. Its like a taxi but free. Now, if you want to say that Israel fabricated this tape, there is also the fact that when Egypt opened the Raffa border, Hamas tried to smuggle their fighters out via ambulance.

It is clear that a multitude of UN organizations have been, at best, providing cover for Hamas and, more likely, actually helping them attain their goals. This leads me to my opinion that the worst war criminal of them all is Antonio Guterres. It is not possible for all these activities to be happening at all these UN organizations without the top person knowing about it. Guterres, who insinuated that the Oct 7th attacks were in response to 56 years of occupation, should defend himself and his organization in an international court. The UN and its organizations are the promoters of all of the worst propaganda against Israel today. They use their international legitimacy to promote the canards that Israel is indiscriminately targeting civilians, ambulances, and hospitals. This is in turn feeding the virulent antisemitism all over the world. Hamas couldn’t ask for a better partner. They should be held accountable.

About the Author
Aaron Menche has a dual major in Political science and Near Eastern studies and started his masters in Near Eastern studies but, then life got in the way. After raising a family in NYC, he made Aliyah 7 years ago. He is currently waiting for good sushi and overnight Amazon to come to Israel.