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Why Israel insists on defending its lies about the October attack

April 4, 2024 at 8:30 am

Pro-Palestinian Jewish American demonstrators rally in New York City, United States on February 22, 2024 [Selçuk Acar/Anadolu Agency]

When you try something and find out it is useless, it is stupid and much more useless to continue with it. At least, that is logic and that is how the human brain works. Not in Israel, though.

Since the 7 October attack on its military bases and semi-militarised Kibbutzim, in which Hamas and other Palestinian fighters strategically surprised the Israeli military might near and around the Gaza Strip, Israel kept putting out the kind of stories that have long since been verified and found to be nothing but cheap propaganda. Israeli decision-makers and its media machine appear to be telling themselves “lie until you believe yourself and others will soon follow”.

This has been a pattern repeated, time and again, in blatant cheap attempts to further dehumanise the Palestinians, all of them, not just Hamas fighters, by portraying them as savages, cold-blooded murderers bent on killing civilians and raping women.

Since old habits die hard, if they ever do, Israel’s habit of lying is part of its short history of 75 years. From day one, it used lies and supporting propagandists around the world to perpetuate its own fake stories and untrue claims that the world used to – to a degree – believe every word the Israelis put out about any event that involves the Palestinians. It has done so in almost all previous atrocities from 1947 to date and it is repeating the same practices now in its genocide in Gaza.

READ: Hamas: Rape claims aim to tarnish group’s ‘humane treatment of hostages’

Take, for example, the attack on the World Central Kitchen which killed seven of the Charity’s workers, Monday 1 April, and how Israel quickly admitted responsibility, offered condolences and the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, regretted what happened, describing the airstrike as “unintentional”. The reality is that all charities coordinate their movements on a minute by minute basis with Israeli forces, so they know where they are at any moment in time, on any given day. So Netanyahu’s “unintentional” description is a big lie!

Shameful still, and in the usual Netanyahu arrogance and contempt for civilians who help Palestinians, he did not even bother to apologise for what happened, instead casting the killing as “happens in war”. He already knew no one would believe him, as the world has already caught him on camera many times before, lying not only to the public but also to his foreign counterparts, including Joe Biden, who has been supporting the Gaza genocide despite Netanyahu’s open contempt of him.

No one really expected Netanyahu to, publicly, apologise. For him it is already too much for his ego to even admit, a rarity anyway, that his forces did actually kill aid workers, including three British citizens, besides one each from the United States/Canada, Poland and Australia. Apologies were left to the army spokesman and the usually stone-faced President. Victims’ countries have demanded an investigation but, as is usually the case, Israel might investigate and, again, as usual it will find its army was not to blame. It might as well blame the victims for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And, of course, Israel will never allow any independent investigation of its army, which it always defends as the most moral army on the planet, despite being responsible for killing more than 32,000 Palestinians since 7 October.

In its relentless efforts to have others share its lies and twisted narratives of any major event, Israel tries to have others, like the United Nations, support its stories but, in many instances, it ends up doing the opposite.

A good example of this is the UN envoy on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten, who visited Israel last January to look at how, according to Israel, Hamas committed rape and other sexual crimes during its raid on Israel. After spending some two weeks “investigating” what happened, lawyer Pramila Patten published her 23-page report which says too much, but with little substance in terms of facts and proof that Hamas fighters, indeed, committed war crimes.

Much of the lack of evidence actually was caused by Israeli authorities who tried to control what the UN team had access to, what potential eye witnesses, if any, might say and how they say it and, above all, where the team might go and whom it is allowed to meet.

READ: Controversy surrounds New York Times’ handling of alleged Hamas sexual violence story

Instead of thoroughly investigating Israeli claims of war crimes, the report talks about what Hamas did not do, while more than about what the fighters might have done—since 7 October, Israel has been accusing Hamas of everything it did not do, instead of what its fighters really did. The reason why most of the Israeli claims were – and still – found to be false.

Yet, the report should be recognised for, alas, what it did not include but rather for the things it included, as issues fully investigated and findings verified and supported by evidence. But, from the outset, Ms. Patten states that her report is not “investigative” in nature despite following similar bodies’ methodologies. In Paragraph 78, it not only emphasises the non-investigative nature of the report, but it also reminds the reader that the entire mission Ms. Patten has led to Israel was not fact-finding, either.  What was not said in the mandate of the team, Israel made sure that the team does not get, despite being there upon Israeli invitation.

Israel also made sure that Ms. Patten and her team did not collect “information and/or draw conclusions” enabling them to “attribute” some of the alleged violations to “specific armed groups” because such attribution would require a “fully-fledged investigative process”. Full access is not something Israel will ever permit.

While the report said there were “reasonable” grounds that Hamas and others might have committed wars crimes, including rape, it also highlights the simple facts that: one, its team never met any victims of rape; two, all visual evidence it reviewed did not provide any “tangible” evidence of rape and, three, it ended by urging Israel to allow it full access to “complete” the investigation.

Furthermore, the documents calls on Israel to “grant access” to the International Commission of Inquiry for detailed investigation. To British lawyer and Secretary-General of the Women’s International League, Madeleine Rees, Israel has rejected this many times before and, in relation to 7 October, it rejected her own requests for investigation.

The only takeaway one comes out with, after reading the report is this: Israeli narrative must be believed and taken as facts. Today’s Israel still lives in a world where its word used to be taken at its face value, without any further scrutiny—scrutiny, the only thing Israel really hates and despises.

READ: Israel media questions awarding prize to fraudulent lawyer behind Hamas ‘mass rape’ allegations

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.