Illuminated by faint light, the destruction in northern Gaza is clearly visible despite the darkness. Buildings, left shattered and empty by the war’s devastation, sprawl across the Gaza Strip, as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) vehicles operate within the area. Recently, we joined the IDF to visit a newly discovered tunnel shaft at Al-Shifa Hospital, the enclave’s largest medical facility. Upon crossing the border fence, our convoy, traveling in darkness, relied on night vision goggles to navigate. The path was haunting, with destroyed buildings and lifeless streets bearing the remnants of war. This area, once bustling with life, was now eerily desolate, with residents either moving or perishing during the conflict.
Traveling with other journalists, we made our way through the pitch-black night. Our armored vehicle’s small night vision monitor was our only link to the ruined expanse outside. Within Gaza City, skeletal remains of buildings dominated the scene. We encountered profound emptiness and silence, finding no one to speak to.
Venturing further into Gaza, we observed the tunnel shaft used by Hamas, with the IDF confirming that the hospital complex served as a cover for their underground operations. Our suspicions were confirmed by the exposed entrance, with the shaft’s substantial structure and a spiral staircase leading downwards to a concrete tunnel. This discovery provided compelling evidence of the complex tunnel network beneath the hospital, strengthening the IDF’s claims.
For Israel, the revelation of these tunnels was crucial in substantiating their allegations against Hamas. The challenge now lay in proving this to the international community, as Hamas and health officials insisted that the hospital was solely a medical facility. The conclusion remained binary: either there was an underground tunnel network beneath Shifa hospital, or there was not.
In summary, the journey through Gaza revealed a bleak and puzzling landscape whose complexities underpin the wider conflict. The stark contradiction between the two opposing accounts of the tunnels highlighted the challenging reality of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Despite the IDF’s findings, the situation continued to evoke perplexity, leaving the truth shrouded in darkness. The implications of this discovery may well shape the trajectory of the conflict as it unfolds.