Those hidden tunnels underneath al-Shifa hospital in Gaza where Israel says Hamas militants are hiding? Israel BUILT them in 1983
By Ethan Huff // Nov 16, 2023

Before we delve into this matter, keep in mind that we are aware of the existence of wartime propaganda on both sides of the war. What you are about to read has to do with the governments of the two respective sides and what they are saying and doing to keep a lid on the truth about the situation in Gaza.

With that said, the talk of the week is al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Gaza's largest medical complex where Israel says Hamas militants run an underground command post in a series of hidden tunnels. Believe it or not, those tunnels were actually built by Israel back in 1983, making the situation a little more complex than media headlines indicate.

On the one hand, we are told that Hamas terrorists are using these underground tunnels and the hospital(s) above to concoct their plans for attacking Israel. On the other, we are told that the hospital is simply filled with sick patients and doctors who are being indiscriminately bombed by Israeli forces.

In many ways, both stories are true. There are, in fact, underground tunnels below al-Shifa, and even special wings of the hospital that are off-limits to reporters and the rest of the world. And Israel is, in fact, surrounding and shelling the hospital to hit its targets, killing some civilians along the way.

But what if you were to learn that al-Shifa is much more like a Hollywood set than actual hospital? Hamas allows reporters to see parts of the facility and even conducts interviews there – but what about all those other areas that are hidden from view?

(Related: Did you catch our report about Israel's ethnic cleansing operations within its own borders?)

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Will the world ever know the full truth?

Tablet magazine covered the matter back in 2014, almost a full decade prior to the current conflict. Tablet staff explained that "a large underground bunker equipped with sophisticated communications equipment" houses at least some part of the Hamas organization's operations.

Western media has largely kept this a secret, likely due to intimidation both from Hamas and from Israel. There are things you are allowed to say, and there are things you are not allowed to say – this is where propaganda comes from, and you can be sure the current Israel-Gaza conflict is riddled with it.

The fact of the matter, though, is that Israel used to control Gaza. Long before Hamas even existed, the "Israeli settlers," as the Palestinians call them, ran the Gaza Strip and built these underground facilities, this being the reason why the Israeli government is constantly talking about them and alleging that Hamas militants are using the spaces, and the people who occupy them as human shields, to conduct its operations.

It is difficult to say what, if anything, has changed about these underground tunnels since Tablet reported on them in 2014. It is also unknown what is really taking place down there right now during the current conflict that has Israel so focused on destroying the property that it now surrounds.

What we do know is that Hamas, also created by Israel back in the 1970s, is likely not telling the full truth in the same way that Israel is not telling the full truth. Much of war is deception, after all, and in the Middle East there always seems to be plenty of it in circulation.

Tablet once described al-Shifa as "a Hollywood sound-stage filled with real, live war victims who are used to score propaganda points, while the terrorists inside the hospital itself are erased from photographs and news accounts through a combination of pressure and threats, in order to produce the stories that Hamas wants."

This sure gives the term "theater of war" a whole lot more meaning.

The latest news about the Israel war on Gaza can be found at

Sources for this article include:

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