The IDF says that the Hamas tunnels (they've shown) were located under the "Qatari Building" of the Al-Shifa hospital. Sky News says this is the surgery department of the hospital. Tunnel over-imposed in bright yellow below, in Sky's presentation.

enter image description here

What was Qatar's contribution to this surgery building inside the complex? Did they sponsor or build it, and if so when?

FWTW, Wikipedia claims

In 2013, a special surgical building was opened.

But I don't know if that's the building in question. (Mini-update: it's almost certainly that building: there are photos of it upon completion on sak.ps and one of them shows the bridge connecting it with the ICU, while another has a 2013 timestamp.)

A bit more googling finds a statement from Qatar

[T]HE Chairman of the Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza Ambassador Mohammed Al Emadi strongly denounced the Israeli occupations allegations about the presence of a building belonging to Qatar inside the Al Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza, and described them as false allegations aimed at justifying Israels targeting of hospitals as part of its extensive violations that targeted civilians and civilian objects.

His Excellency confirmed in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the headquarters of the Qatar Committee, located next to the Port of Gaza, is about three kilometers from Al Shifa Medical Complex [...]

That statement just says the building inside the hospital complex doesn't belong to Qatar and it's not the same as some "the headquarters of the Qatar Committee" (duh) but provides no insight whether Qatar might have sponsored any building inside Al-Shifa in some way.

So, why would the IDF call it the "Qatari Building" still? (FWTW, Haaretz has fully adopted that "Qatari building" terminology in their own map, but still doesn't explain why it's called that.)

FWTW, the internal medicine dept. (mentioned in an answer) is another building, next to it, according to Haaretz.

enter image description here

  • 4
    How a building gets named or called isn't on topic.
    – Joe W
    Dec 7, 2023 at 14:46
  • 3
    @JoeW Without knowing that "how", it's impossible to say if it's on-topic or not.
    – Just Me
    Dec 7, 2023 at 14:51
  • 3
    @JustMe what is there to suggest the name has anything to do with politics?
    – Joe W
    Dec 7, 2023 at 15:37
  • 3
    @JoeW - We're not talking about the name. We're talking about how the IDF and Haaretz are describing it. "The Qatari building" is not its name. Referring to a location by association with a foreign nation is likely to have a significant political rationale. Dec 8, 2023 at 9:54
  • @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere The question is titled "Why does the IDF call the surgery department of Al-Shifa the "Qatari Building"?" which suggests why it was named that is an important part of the question.
    – Joe W
    Dec 8, 2023 at 13:25

2 Answers 2


The building does not belong to Qatar, but it was built with Qatar's help, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Qatar Charity to Establish Largest Hospital Building in the Gaza Strip:

Qatar Charity has signed an agreement for the preparation of the detailed drawings of the internal medicine hospital building to be located in the Al-Shifa Hospital Complex in Gaza City. The project is the first of its kind and is supported by a coalition of local and international consultants at a cost of QAR 582,000 (USD 160,000).

The hospital building will be the largest health building in the Gaza Strip, with a capacity of 432 beds, with overall area of 20,000 square meters. The building will include several internal medicine departments, including kidney dialysis, an intensive care unit, general internal medicine, a department of neurology, a department of endoscopy, a heart department, a department of haematology, oncology, and other departments, as well as a laboratory, pharmacy and other ancillary services.

Though it is not really clear from this statement whether it is exactly the same building - but it would not be uncommon for military to give an operational name for an object by association with something. E.g., Song My was labeled on the American maps as My Lai and referred to as Pinkville:

The massacre, which was later called "the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War", took place in two hamlets of Sơn Mỹ village in Quảng Ngãi Province. These hamlets were marked on the U.S. Army topographic maps as My Lai and My Khe. The U.S. Army slang name for the hamlets and sub-hamlets in that area was Pinkville, and the carnage was initially referred to as the Pinkville Massacre. Later, when the Army started its investigation, the media changed it to the Massacre at Songmy. Currently, the event is referred to as the My Lai Massacre in the U.S. and called the Sơn Mỹ Massacre in present-day Vietnam.

(emphasis is mine)

French Libération, in the context of discussing the controversy about whether the tunnels were built by Israel or Hamas, points out to two different buildings, one built in the 1980s by Israel (during the Israeli presence in Gaza, shown in red) and one built after the Israeli 200( withdrawal (shown in green):

enter image description here

Dans un article publié deux jours plus tard, nous expliquions qu’il s’agissait d’un conduit d’une longueur présumée de 150 mètres, dont une extrémité (obstruée) se situe sous l’un des bâtiments les plus modernes de l’hôpital Al-Shifa, financé par le Qatar, et dont l’une des autres extrémités, selon Tsahal, déboucherait dans un quartier voisin de l’établissement. Le 24 novembre, l’armée israélienne a annoncé la destruction de l’ouvrage.

In an article published two days later, we explained that it was a conduit with a presumed length of 150 meters, one end of which (obstructed) is located under one of the most modern buildings in the city. Al-Shifa hospital, financed by Qatar, and one of the other ends of which, according to the IDF, would lead to a neighborhood neighboring the establishment. On November 24, the Israeli army announced the destruction of the structure.

  • The internal medicine department is another building next to it, according to Haaretz. So, close but no cigar. Dec 7, 2023 at 15:37
  • 1
    @Fizz "will include several internal medicine departments" doesn't imply that it was designated "Internal Medicine"
    – Caleth
    Dec 7, 2023 at 15:45

Sak.ps, which is a building company (Saqqa & Khoudary co.), has this info:

enter image description here

That seems to say the Qatar Red Crescent either contributed $10.4M to the building or was its immediate recipient, but it's a bit unclear if that was the whole cost of the building or just what Sak was subcontracted. That "Special Surgery Building" was apparently completed in 2013-2014, according to the timestamps of a couple of photo in the gallery there.

One of the photos there shows the bridge connecting it to the ICU, so I'm pretty sure it's the building in question.

However, whether it's fair to call just that building "Qatari", given what Roger discovered, namely that the nearby internal medicine department was also substantially funded by Qatar...

Anyhow, parts of the equipment for that building were more broadly funded, as this 2017 presser says

Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has procured new high-tech medical equipment at a cost of $150,000 for the Palestinian Ministry of Health's (MoH) Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza.

These procurements are part of the $18 million project of equipping the complex's specialized surgery building, funded by the Programme of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Reconstruction of Gaza, under the supervision of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

So, some of the equipment costed more than what Sak received, but it's still not clear what the total costs were, and who covered most of those. Still, the QRCS was involved in mediating some of these transactions.

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