It has been more than a month since Israel launched its forceful ethnic cleansing campaign in Gaza in response to the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation initiated by the Palestinian resistance.
Since then, the occupying state has been repeating its fabrications and misinformation, not only to rationalise its actions in Gaza but also to garner global sympathy, painting itself as a victim while escalating attacks against innocent Palestinians.
Of particular concern are Israel’s justifications for targeting hospitals in Gaza, which are serving as shelters for displaced individuals, and its persistent efforts to depict Palestinian resistance fighters as terrorists – a narrative Israel amplified with its claims about all that had unfolded on 7 October.
After US President Joe Biden voiced his condemnation of Hamas for invading southern Israel and committing acts, including the alleged beheading of 40 babies, the shockwave through the public was extensive and understandable.
However, it was unfounded. In the aftermath of 7 October, first-hand accounts from witnesses provided a different version of events, one which did not shock those who closely follow the Palestine-Israel crisis. Israeli troops, they explained, desperate to contain the surprise incursion, inadvertently fired at their own citizens with heavy weaponry, causing numerous deaths from “friendly fire”.
Testimonies compiled by the Grayzone contradict Israel’s official account of events, with the occupation state withholding crucial details about the alleged atrocities committed by Hamas. Unverified claims circulated by Israel, including the gruesome accusation that Hamas beheaded 40 babies, were widely dismissed as propaganda designed to justify collective punishment against Gaza’s 2.2 million inhabitants.
This was confirmed by Haaretz’s report this weekend of the police investigation which found that a military helicopter that fired at the Palestinian resistance fighters also hit some revellers at the Nova Festival on 7 October.
Izzat Al-Rishq, a spokesperson for Hamas, said that the international media had “spread lies about our Palestinian people and the resistance claiming that members of the Palestinian resistance beheaded children and attacked women with no evidence to support such claims and lies.”
This was confirmed by Israeli civilian, Yasmin Porat, a survivor of a hostage standoff in Be’eri, who detailed how Israeli Special Forces “undoubtedly” killed hostages including her partner who was gunned down, along with other hostages in the chaotic shooting.
Further testimonies suggest that, in the heat of battle, Israeli troops likely resorted to indiscriminate firing into civilian areas and homes, resulting in an untold number of preventable Israeli deaths.
This indiscriminate approach mirrors Israel’s current strategy, 45 days into the relentless air and ground attacks on Gaza. According to Palestinian officials, more than 12,400 Palestinians have been killed, including over 7,800 women and children, and more than 29,200 injured.
Israel’s bloodthirsty narrative surrounding the Palestinian resistance took root, giving it the green light to launch a “genocide in making”, as UN experts now refer to Gaza.
This incident marks just the beginning of a series of egregious lies disseminated to the public by Israel, as thousands of other false reports circulate daily in the media.
In defiance of international calls for a ceasefire, Israel asserts its commitment to a relentless offensive in Gaza “with full force”, demanding the release of over 240 hostages held by Hamas. However, a closer look reveals a stark contradiction in Israel’s actions, calling into question its purported concern for the hostages’ safety.The Israeli government’s claim to prioritise the well-being of hostages is challenged by the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, putting these very lives at grave risk. If the hostages were truly a priority — why endanger them with such aggressive military tactics? Hamas has already said that Israel’s bombing campaign has killed some 57 prisoners of war held in Gaza.
For its part, Hamas insists on the release of all Palestinian prisoners, including 160 children held without charge or trial, as a condition for freeing the prisoners of war seized on 7 October. However, in response, Israel not only doubled the number of Palestinians in custody to 10,000 but also unlawfully detained 4,000 labourers from Gaza. Nightly arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank further compound the issue.
Disturbing videos of Israeli soldiers beating, stepping on, abusing and humiliating detained Palestinians who have been blindfolded, stripped either partially or entirely, and have their hands tied behind their backs, are reminiscent of the infamous Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq in 2003.
Al-Rishq accuses Israel of obstructing a potential deal for the exchange of 50 hostages and a humanitarian truce. He said: “The Occupation still refuses and delays in getting 50 women and children released and declaring a real humanitarian truce, in exchange for the release of a number of our women and children in the Occupation prisons.”
As Israel intensifies its violence against Gaza, a disturbing parallel emerges — a similar level of aggression is mirrored against Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails.
But still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu persists in asserting a narrative that contradicts the extensive and indiscriminate air strikes Israel has unleashed on Gaza. Despite hitting hospitals, schools, residential buildings, mosques and churches, Netanyahu claims that Israel and its army are adhering to the “highest standards of international law to prevent harm to uninvolved civilians and will continue to do that to victory.”
Last week and over the weekend, Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital was raided, with Israel alleging that Hamas was using the facility as a command centre. However, the Israeli army has failed to present evidence of Hamas-run tunnels or a military command centre beneath the hospital. Evidence it has provided has repeatedly been refuted or found to be forged from historic videos circulating online of other countries.
Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesperson for the Health Ministry in Gaza, paints a grim picture, stating that thousands of women, children and the sick and wounded are at risk of death as Israel continues its raid on Al-Shifa. It has also forced most patients and staff out of the medical facility at gunpoint.
CNN admits Israel “might have rearranged weaponary” at Al-Shifa Hospital.
We can therefore deduce that the Israeli military planted weapons in the MRI room. pic.twitter.com/fVb0RlaNLK
— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) November 18, 2023
Compounding the crisis, hospitals in Gaza have exhausted their beds, leaving many patients to be treated on the floor. Doctors are forced to perform procedures with no anaesthetic and often using only the light provided by mobile phones, due to the shortage of fuel, medical supplies and equipment. Patients not only grapple with injuries but also suffer hunger, as limited aid is entering the Strip and systems collapse.
Beneath the layers of Israel’s lies, a single chilling truth stands out – Israel’s ongoing war is far from a noble effort to fight terrorism or rescue hostages. Instead, as it orders the displacement of one million Palestinians in northern Gaza, shoots at them as they flee along ‘safe routes’ and razes entire neighbourhoods,Israel’s offensive reveals a darker objective: the forceful progression of an illegal occupation and a disturbing attempt at ethnic cleansing.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.