A Japanese expert says hospitals in the Gaza Strip are core infrastructures, and that Israeli attacks on them exert pressure on the entire enclave.
Project Associate Professor Suzuki Hiroyuki of the University of Tokyo commented on claims by the Israeli military that Hamas has a key base under Al-Shifa Hospital.
Suzuki said it is possible that Hamas members are hiding near hospitals and schools without residents' knowledge. But he doubts there is sufficient evidence of this, and he doubts that it warrants attacks on such facilities.
He said that even if there was a Hamas base, global criticisms of attacks on hospitals are understandable.
Asked about the possibility of assaults on these facilities by ground troops, Suzuki said the Israeli military is conducting operations in ways that avoid provoking international criticism while increasing pressure on Gaza hospitals.
He said Israel may decide to send troops into hospitals if there are new developments, such as attacks originating from within these facilities.
Hamas has called for a five-day ceasefire in exchange for the release of up to 70 hostages.
Suzuki said Israel will need to come up with terms that align with the release of dozens of hostages, but its government wants to avoid being perceived as making concessions to Hamas. He said both sides face considerable obstacles in reaching a compromise, and prolonged negotiations are expected.