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Protection against disinformation: Fact-sheet on Hamas and Iran’s propagandaIDSF Research Department



Leveraging sensitivity to civilian casualties and protected entities, Hamas and Iran cleverly use the international desire to see de-escalation in Gaza to propagate disinformation. Comparable to Russia’s war on Ukraine and the COVID-19 crisis, the international arena has proven itself vulnerable to such campaigns. Below are some key facts on prominent incidents where Israel was inaccurately accused of atrocities, that caught global attention.


Claim: Israel deliberately targets civilians in Gaza and is committing “genocide” by killing over 30,000 Palestinian civilians, most of whom are women and children (as of March 2024)


Fact

  • These figures originate in Hamas’ so-called “Ministry of Health.” and are therefore by definition, problematic. Despite being widely quoted by the UN and other prominent actors, this figure remains highly questionable. It has been debunked multiple times as inconsistent, and focuses on the consensus population “women and children” though never providing data on killed militants.

  • According to the IDF, over 13,000 terrorists have been killed in Gaza, including 18 of 24 battalion structures.

  • It is likely that the fighting inflicted civilian casualties, but there is no reliable data on that front.

  • Traditionally, Israel does its utmost to avoid civilian casualties for both moral and strategic reasons, as doing so allows Israel the legitimacy needed to continue the war effort. The IDF distributed pamphlets, sent SMS messages, and carried out phone calls advising civilians to flee from areas to be targeted by the IDF. Over 1.5 million Palestinian civilians successfully evacuated from war zones. The accusation by Hamas and Iran, that Israel is wantonly targeting civilians is designed to delegitimize Israel’s right to self-defense by “cooking the books.”

  • It is worth noting that while Hamas spearheaded the October 7 attack, numerous civilians participated in the horrors, invading Israel, murdering, raping, torturing, and looting. Multiple videos and sigint evidence prove that. Furthermore, opinion polls also show 82% of Gazans support the October 7 massacre, while support for Hamas increased ever since.

  • This claim is inconsistent with the IDF’s focus on Hamas-controlled urban warfare – had Israel been interested in carrying out “genocide” against Palestinians, its military superiority would have enabled it to theoretically target mass concentration of civilians in designated evacuation zones, but needless to say, no such thing ever happened.


Claim: Israel blocks humanitarian aid from coming into Gaza in order to “starve” Palestinians



Fact

  • The IDF’s COGAT provides daily updates on the humanitarian aid provided to Gaza: https://govextra.gov.il/cogat/humanitarian-efforts/home/ 

  • Since the beginning of the war, over 319,000 tons of aid was delivered to Gaza through over 17,000 trucks and multiple airdropped deliveries. Israel did not rule out the US initiative to construct a port in Gaza to provide aid.

  • High-level Israeli officials already stated multiple times that it is Israel’s interest to continue to provide humanitarian aid to maintain its international legitimacy to finish the mission of destroying Hamas.

  • It is noteworthy that Hamas routinely takes control of the humanitarian aid coming into Gaza, and steals most of it to fuel its war machine. Irrefutable evidence shows Hamas officials stealing aid while Gaza residents are harshly beaten.

  • The supply of humanitarian aid must be balanced with the demand to destroy Hamas and allow the IDF to take control of the distribution of humanitarian aid to weaken Hamas’ war efforts and pave the path to UNRWA’s dismantlement.

  • Egypt should be pressured to allow more humanitarian aid through its Gaza border, and allow Palestinian refugees to take shelter temporarily in its territory. It is unprecedented that countries block refugees from escaping war zones, unlike the case with Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

  • No humanitarian aid has been known to be delivered to the Israeli hostages currently illegally held in sub-human conditions in the Gaza Strip.  In fact, medication that was to be provided to Israeli hostages was later found in Hamas controlled hospitals and were never delivered to their intended patients.

Claim: Israel killed over 500 Palestinians in the Al Ahli Al Arab hospital attack


Fact

  • The myth on the alleged Al Ahli Al Arab Hospital attack in Gaza is a textbook example to Hamas’ successful propaganda efforts. On October 17, 2023, an explosion took place near the Gaza hospital. Immediately afterwards, Hamas released a statement that claimed over 500 people, perhaps more, were killed in an Israeli airstrike against the hospital.

  • While no independent data existed, nor was the information reflective of Israel’s usual conduct with hospitals serving as military targets such as Shifaa, the Qatari and others later on, many in the international community, including prominent leaders and media outlets, were quick to widely echo that claim.

  • Violent demonstrations erupted around the world, putting Jewish communities at risk, as protesters were confident Israel bombarded a hospital.

  • Only later, the IDF released evidence showing this was a complete fallacy. In fact, a misfired PIJ rocket landed in the hospital’s parking lot, causing several casualties – far from the figure of 500 fatalities. Both camera footage, infra-red documentation and radar signals showed the IDF did not operate near the premises of the hospital at that time. Intercepted phone calls between Hamas militants also pointed out that the terror group was fully aware of that.

  • Independent investigations by American, French, and other intelligence services concluded the same as the IDF.

  • In the same way, over 450 rockets shot by Gaza terrorist organizations misfired and landed inside Gaza territory by October 18.

  • Except for prominent headlines in the media, one result of this allegation was the cancelation of President Biden’s visit to a summit in Jordan.


Claim: The IDF deliberately targets journalists in Gaza, killing at least 95 since the beginning of the war




Fact

  • Hamas uses “journalists” as a cover for its activities, and once targeted, publicize their elimination as “Israel’s illegal targeting of journalists” as a means to garner international support. This is well-documented.

  • In multiple cases during the current “Iron Swords” war in Gaza, so-called journalists were later exposed as active Hamas or PIJ militants.

  • Such was the case of so-called journalists Hamza al-Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, who were eliminated by a targeted drone strike on January 7 near Rafah. The IDF later exposed their pay slips from the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

  • So-called journalist Mohamed Washah, allegedly an Al Jazeera reporter from Gaza, was exposed as a senior commander in Hamas’ rocket department, part of its R&D aerial division. During an operation at one of Hamas' bases in the northern Gaza Strip, a laptop belonging to Washah was found to contain photos and intelligence materials linking him to Hamas.

  • In other cases, journalists who sympathize with Hamas actively participated in the October 7 attacks, colluding with Hamas’ propaganda machine in what became infamous as “the most well-documented massacre in history”. For the same reason, Hamas terrorists used Go Pro cameras to document their actions, and even made live streams on their victim’s social media or uploaded photos of their bodies to amplify their horrors to the maximum extent possible.

  • A report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center found that at least half of the reportedly killed journalists in Gaza were affiliated with a terrorist organization.

  • This tactic was previously used by Hamas in 2012, as exposed by the IDF.


Claim: The IDF killed over 152 UN workers in Gaza



Fact

  • The UN is Gaza’s largest employer, with over 35,000 people working for the international organization. It has been demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that UNRWA actively colludes with Hamas and employs its activists.

  • Among other data points, 25 out of the 27 members of UNRWA’s workers union are Hamas members; at least 440 active members in Hamas’ military wing are simultaneously employed in UNRWA; 2,000 more are Hamas members; and around 7,000 have close family relatives who are Hamas members.

  • At least 30 UNRWA employees actively took part in the October 7 massacre, and several UNRWA teachers held Israeli hostages in their homes.

  • Hamas uses the UN label as a shield against targeting its terrorist infrastructure, operating terrorism under the guise of legitimate UN activity.

  • A report by The Telegraph showed how all killed UN workers but two were off-duty at the time of their death.


Claim: Raiding hospitals constitutes a war crime and goes against international law



Fact

  • International law statutes regarding warfare consider facilities used for military purposes as legitimate military targets, under the principle of proportionality. Once a civilian compound is used as a military base of operations the international protections of the compound under the law are removed (Article 19 of the Geneva Convention).

  • Specifically, when a high-quality target such as the Al Shifaa’ Hospital, the Hamas nerve center, which was used for the command and control of the entire war against Israel, exit points for militants who embarked on the October 7 massacre, and even for holding and executing hostages, this qualified as an entirely legitimate military target.

  • To enable the safe evacuation of civilians from what has become a battle zone, the IDF allowed and even facilitated the movement of civilians, protecting them from Hamas terrorists who were shooting at the Israeli troops from behind civilians. It has also refrained from ordering civilians to leave, but rather enables them to leave – as reiterated by the IDF Spokesperson and illustrated in a phone call between an IDF officer and the hospital director. The IDF has also provided extensive evidence of the use of the Hospital as a terrorist hotspot- exposing terror tunnels, taking kidnapped Israeli civilians through the hospital etc.

  • The same goes for other operations in Gaza hospitals such as the Qatari hospital, the Al Nasser hospital and others.




Protection against Hamas disinformation
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This is a product by the Israel Defense and Security Forum’s Research Department | Published March 17, 2024 | For more research and material: idsf.org.il | Visit our database that contains daily-updating statistics and analyses on the war: warinisrael.org | Contact us: info@idsf.org.il

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