Fighting Anti-Israeli Bias

Item 7



Claim 35: Israel targeted schools and hospitals in May 2021


Palestine, 47th Session

“The destruction of sanitation infrastructure, schools, and the media has been going on for 14 years now.”

Bangladesh, 47th Session

We condemn Israel’s…destruction of civilian infrastructure — including residential buildings, education facilities, hospitals…”

Qatar, 30th Special Session

“Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate targeting of schools, hospitals.”

Egypt, 30th Special Session

Israel “targeted schools and hospitals.”

Our Response

UN Watch

The IDF employs sophisticated technology enabling it to pinpoint military targets with a high degree of precision and to minimize harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.[1] During the May 2021 Israel/Hamas conflict, the IDF launched hundreds of surgical strikes against 1,500 Hamas military targets, including rocket stores, rocket launchers, underground terror tunnels, militants, and operational facilities.[2]

Unfortunately, because Hamas operates from within the civilian area, these lawful military targets were in close proximity to civilian infrastructure, including homes, health care facilities, schools and mosques.[3] UNRWA itself admitted that a school damaged by IDF missiles was sitting on top of a Hamas terror tunnel.[4] The fact that some civilian infrastructure was damaged does not mean that Israel intentionally targeted that infrastructure or that its strikes were unlawful.[5]

On the other hand, Hamas indiscriminately fired rockets into Israel, intending to harm Israeli civilians and civilian infrastructure. Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar openly admitted that the purpose of the Hamas rockets was “to attack the Israeli targets at very important points, including most of the overcrowded area in the civilian society…”[6] The Hamas rockets killed thirteen Israelis, injured more than 300, terrorized millions[7] and caused millions of dollars in property damage.[8]

Hamas rockets struck two hospitals—the Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon, hitting near its emergency room[9] and the Omar Al-Qassam hospital in the West Bank.[10] Gaza rockets also hit a school in Ashkelon which was empty at the time only because the government had ordered schools closed for safety, an empty bus, and numerous other civilian structures.[11] On May 18 and 19, Hamas mortars attacked two separate humanitarian aid convoys entering Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, injuring an Israeli soldier and disrupting delivery.[12] In addition, Gaza rockets that fell short in Gaza killed at least 21,[13] and caused extensive damage on the Gaza side, including to Gaza electricity lines.[14]

Contrary to these accusations by Egypt and Qatar, it is Hamas that deliberately attacks schools and hospitals, not the other way around.

[1] @IDF, Twitter (May 20, 2021, 9:44 PM),; Merav Ceren, The Moral Case for High-Tech Weapons, The New Atlantis (Summer/Fall 2017),

[2] @IDF, Twitter (May 22, 2021, 9:27 PM),

[3] Orde Kittrie, Hold Hamas Accountable for Human-Shields Use During the May 2021 Gaza War, FDD (June 23, 2021),; Operation Guardian of the Walls, IDF (May 2021),; @IsraelinGreece, Twitter (May 16, 2021, 5:14 PM),; @IDF, Twitter (May 13, 2021, 9:26 AM),; @IDF, Twitter (May 20, 2021, 12:25 AM),; @IDF, Twitter (May 19, 2021, 9:37 AM),; How Hamas built an underground terror network in the heart of Gaza, Jerusalem Post (May 21, 2021),

[4] The Neutrality And Inviolability Of UNRWA Installations Must Be Respected At All Times, UNRWA (June 4, 2021), utrality-and-inviolability-unrwa-installations-must-be-respected-all.

[5] Laurie R. Blank, Asymmetries and proportionalities, The Hill (July 29, 2014),

[6] Hamas co-founder to UK TV: Israel has no right to exist, Times of Israel (May 24, 2021),

[7] Ilan Ben Zion and Laurie Kellman, Rockets from Gaza rain havoc in Israeli cities in latest war, AP (May 18, 2021),

[8] Property damage from rockets – double Protective Edge, Walla Money (May 23, 2021),

[9] Rosella Tercatin, ‘We are in a war zone,’ says head of Israeli hospital targeted by rockets, Jerusalem Post (May 20, 2021),

[10] @COGATonline, Twitter (May 16, 2021, 9:51 PM),

[11] See, e.g., Almog Ben Zikri and Jack Khoury, Two Killed in Israel, Dozens Injured as Gaza Rockets Hit Buildings in Southern Israel, Ha’aretz (May 11, 2021),; Yaron Steinbuch, Video reportedly captures moment rocket hits bus in Israeli city of Holon, New York Post (May 12, 2021),; Residents of Ashdod building hit by Gaza rocket try to pick up the pieces, Times of Israel (May 22, 2021),

[12] Gaza strikes shipments of humanitarian aid, Kerem Shalom crossing Closed, Jerusalem Post (May 19, 2021),

[13] An analysis of the names of Gazans killed during Operation Guardian of the Walls indicates that about half of them were terrorist operatives, Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (June 29, 2021),

[14] AP, Israel says high-voltage power lines supplying Gaza Strip with electricity damaged, Al Arabiya (May 16, 2021),

UN Watch