Fauda creator Avi Issacharoff says it is a "known fact", even among children, that Hamas leaders have a headquarters under Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital – which is why he depicted this in a series of the Netflix show written five years ago.
Last week, Israel struck an ambulance convoy that it said was being used by Hamas outside Al-Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital. The attack resulted in 15 deaths and at least 60 wounded civilians, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
The IDF confirmed the strike saying the ambulance it hit was being "used by a Hamas terrorist cell in close proximity to their position in the battle zone".
It added: "A number of Hamas terrorist operatives were killed in the strike."
Issacharoff, an Arabic-speaking Israeli who wrote Fauda with former army friend Lior Raz about their experiences in an underground unit, has spoken about how Hamas is using the Gazan people as human shields during the war, and claimed the terror organisation wants them dead.
"The sad thing about all this is Hamas doesn’t care about their own people," Issacharoff said.
"They use them as human shields and you see that in Shifa Hospital. In the third series of Fauda, which we wrote in 2018, we showed the headquarters of the Hamas military wing being there.
"It was something the IDF knew about – every kid in Gaza knows that under Shifa there is a Hamas headquarters. But no one talks about it which is why we decided to show it."
Avi Issacharoff, co-creator of the Israeli TV drama 'Fauda' (Photo: Getty)
Issacharoff, who made the comments while speaking with journalists via Zoom this weekend, added: "I don’t know how we deal with it. I hope that the IDF has some solutions for it. But Hamas having their headquarters there is a known fact and it is the case all over Gaza that some of the hospitals and UNWRA schools are being used to launch rockets or execute operations against the Israeli forces on the ground.
"Of course, the Israelis are bombing back but while Hamas are hiding underground, more civilians are getting killed."
A prominent Israeli journalist, Issacharoff, 50, is credited with helping to explain the complexities of living in Israel through the Netflix show, which has which has been a huge hit around the world – including in many Arab countries.
The show, which focuses on an Arabic-speaking IDF unit that goes undercover in hostile territories, has been praised for humanising both sides of the conflict.
Before working on Fauda, Issacharoff worked inside both the Gaza Strip and West Bank and counted many people on the "other side" as his contacts and friends.
Series three of the show saw two member of the team being kidnapped by Hamas and the unit's attempts to rescue them.
Issacharoff said that while the negotiations continue for the 240-plus hostages taken by Hamas, Israel will be concentrating on wiping out the terror group's military capabilities.
He acknowledged that Israel is, in many ways, doing what Hamas had hoped in bombing Gaza – but stressed that the country had no choice.
"This is not a surgical operation, this is war,’ Issacharoff said.
Israeli artillery fires towards Gaza on Sunday (Getty Images)
"After the terror attacks, Hamas went underground. They went under the houses and neighbourhoods of Gaza City hoping that either Israel wouldn’t bomb them because they’re hiding behind human shields – Palestinian civilians – or if Israel does attack that it will kill many civilians. And they want that – they want the whole world to accuse Israel of war crimes – just like we see.
"The cynical aim of Hamas is not only to kill Israelis but that many Palestinian civilians will be killed – it is better for them as it makes the other side look like devils and puts pressure on the Israeli side.
"So, in a way, they predicted it, they wanted it. And they are succeeding. We don’t like it, of course, but Israel is also making some very impressive military progress. It has managed to [kill] many Hamas leaders on the battalion and platoon levels... I am not saying that Hamas is now weak but Hamas now understands that there is a big war machine that is coming their way.
"We are all paying a heavy price – Israeli soldiers are getting killed and injured too but the price Hamas is paying is also very heavy. The aim is to dismantle more Hamas terrorist cells to get to the tunnels underneath. The infrastructure of the tunnels is huge which allows Hamas to transfer not only terrorists and hostages but also motorbikes, artillery and rockets. Under almost every part of the city you will find a tunnel."
Issacharoff said he expected there would soon be a humanitarian pause but only for a few hours at most. And he admitted to feeling there is no good option for what happens after the war.
"The big problem is the day after – that is the bigger challenge," he said.
"I know some of our ministers are saying we should occupy Gaza – we have some very stupid ministers in this government. But the reality is that the options are in between the bad and the worst and we have to pick the less worse."
Any solution needs to involve the Palestinian Authority, even though it is "weak" and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas is about to turn 88, the writer believes.
He added: "It will also mean that... we will need to have some sort of political progress with [the PA] – and this current government doesn’t want to go for any sort of political discussion about the future of the two state solution. So, it is a Catch 22 situation."