Doctor, Writing In The Toronto Star, Describes Gaza As A “War On Children”, Ignoring Hamas’ Ongoing Culpability

February 20, 2024

In his blinkered February 18 article in the Toronto Star, ‘It’s a war on children”— a Canadian surgeon’s account of helping in a Gaza hospital, Amgad ElSherif, a board certified thoracic surgeon in Ontario, Canada, paints a vivid, detailed description of the heart wrenching humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

He writes that “I felt ashamed that only a few condemned this barbarism. I thought about anti-racism work that needs to be done within our own health-care system for some physician leaders to see these children as equal humans. It makes you feel helpless as a physician if you see very few will advocate for dead or living children of Gaza…I am optimistic that the world will eventually realize the extent of the damage and will work to stop this medical crisis.”

Combining the description of the impact of the Hamas-Israel war with a call for condemnation is a bait-and-switch: purporting to tell the story of civilians, but instead using his platform to defame Israel, as he soon does.

ElSherif, who worked inside Nasser Hospital in Gaza, ignores any context or facts about the conflict, allowing for the implication that Israel’s counter-terrorism operations in Nasser hospital are gratuitous and that they are the cause of the crisis. The opposite is true.

Hamas’s long-term strategy of using their own civilians, including children and hospitals as human shields is incomprehensibly evil and their total disregard of the welfare of their own electorate is breathtaking. In November, Hamas was found to be using a prominent Gaza hospital, Al-Shifa, as a shield against military action while directing their attacks against Israel from there.

For Hamas, turning civilian zones into terrorist operation centres is not by accident, but design. The group built an extensive data command centre under the headquarters of UNRWA, the United Nations agency with extensive ties to terrorism.

It was seen when Hamas actively prevented civilians from leaving areas of heavy fighting, and this overt weaponizing of children and others is the cause of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, witnessed by ElSherif.  Hamas’s weaponizing of children and others is what has led to the horrific humanitarian crisis that Dr Elsherif describes. But – like so many anti-Israel columns – he remains silent on Hamas, failing to mention their name even a single time.. Describing suffering is easy; failing to identify the culprit as Hamas is morally obtuse.

Hamas’ barbarism towards Israeli civilians is hardly a secret.  Hamas terrorists, trained by Iran, instigated the war on October 7,  when they entered Israel unprovoked and murdered babies, raped women, dismembered residents and massacred whole families, a total of 1,200 civilians.

They took 242 hostages and continue, until today, to imprison 132, including women and children, with baby Kfir, the youngest hostage, ‘celebrating’ his first birthday in captivity.

These inhuman acts by Hamas should not be seen in isolation. Hamas, elected by the people of Gaza in 2006, and which continues to see widespread support according to polling, is, according to its own charter, committed to the genocide of Israel.

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, has called the October 7 massacre “just a rehearsal,” leaving little doubt as to the group’s long-term goals. Hamas’s intent is to replace the only democracy in the Middle East with an Islamic theocracy. Consequently, Israel has been forced into a war it did not want, a fight for its existence. It is in this context that Elsherif’s experience takes place.

Elsherif also mentions, when considering his decision to go to Gaza, “With airstrikes on hospitals and the abduction of health-care providers being a concern”. As seen clearly in Al-Shifa, these “airstrikes on hospitals” are in fact targeted attacks on terrorist infrastructure, a detail overlooked in his column.

In Nasser hospital in particular, where ElSherif was working and the discoveries continue to unfold, so far ammunition has been found, a car belonging to residents of the now decimated Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel, and medicine for the hostages that never reached them). Hundreds of terrorists have been arrested in the hospital, often disguised as medical staff , including terrorists who took part in October 7. There is also evidence that some of the hostages were held there. Hamas’s hospital use is not medical.

Despite Hamas’s callous use of vulnerable human shields, Israel takes unprecedented measures to reduce human casualties and to protect Gaza’s civilians while eliminating terrorists. In Nasser hospital Israeli soldiers repaired its generator and provided food and water to patients. Israel regularly issues warnings, phones civilians directly to redirect them to safer zones and leaflets warning of impending military action. Hamas, of course, not only does not protect its civilians; it actively puts them in harm’s way. 

The hellish suffering on both sides desperately needs to end. But that can only come with the defeat of Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization that has promised to fight until Israel is destroyed. Elsherif’s commentary, which fully ignores Hamas while working in a hospital where weapons were found, does not advance the cause of anyone, least of all the people of Gaza.

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