Debunking Hamas’s Consistent and Pernicious Lies

Though facts do not align with the narrative, the media continues to parrot Hamas’s claims.

The story

During the course of the Israel-Hamas war, which began on Oct. 7 when Hamas massacred 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 251 others, Hamas has consistently made outlandish claims that later proved false. Nevertheless, much of the media, academia, and political class repeat them long after they are disproven.

Inaccurate reporting has often turned public opinion against Israel, which leads to political pressure from Western countries, hindering Israel's war effort.

Below is a non-comprehensive list of the most widely-circulated assertions and why they’re misleading. This doesn’t suggest that there isn’t a humanitarian crisis in Gaza; it combats Hamas propaganda which has led to unjust anti-Israel sentiment.

Al-Ahli Hospital Explosion

On Oct. 17, Hamas alleged that Israel struck a hospital and killed upwards of 500 people. Outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post immediately repeated the numbers. However, subsequent investigations by Human Rights Watch, the Associated Press, and Western intelligence agencies found that Israel did not bomb the hospital, and casualties were far fewer than Hamas claimed. The blast was likely caused by a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket which landed in the hospital’s courtyard.

Additionally, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released intercepted audio of Hamas operatives discussing how they fabricated the claim that Israelis conducted the strike.

Hamas Casualty Numbers

Hamas contends that of more than 35,000 war deaths, 70 percent are women and children. But in early November, Hamas changed the way it determines casualties — from hospital records and their central collection system to media reports.

A recent data analysis found that the new reporting system resulted in “a sixfold decrease in adult male fatalities recorded … and a fourfold increase in child fatalities.” If the count is accurate, fewer than 10 percent of casualties are civilian adult males — highly implausible. Additionally, Hamas counts people up to the age of 20 as children. Hamas’s media office systematically inflates numbers of women and child fatalities.

Rafah Tent Fire

About 40 civilians were killed after tents caught fire outside of Rafah last month. Hamas and much of the media claimed Israel struck the camp for displaced Gazans, and that the camp was inside a designated IDF “safe zone.” Gruesome and disturbing video underscored the horror of the fire.

Subsequently, it was revealed that the strike took place outside the civilian safe zone, about 180 meters from the shelters. The strike, aimed at two Hamas commanders, used small precision munitions — not a 2,000-pound bomb, as widely claimed. The strike caused a fire that spread to the shelter. The fire likely occurred and spread due to secondary explosions, likely triggered after a Hamas munitions warehouse was hit near the original strike.

Video evidence backs the claim for secondary explosions not caused by the IDF. Rather, the tragedy took place due to Hamas putting themselves, and more recklessly, their munitions near safe zones.

Percentage Of Buildings Destroyed

Reports that upwards of 75 percent of buildings in Gaza have been destroyed suggest that this is the most destructive war in recent memory. However, based on satellite imagery the United Nations Institute For Training And Research reported that, as of January 2024, about 35 percent of buildings in Gaza were damaged.

Of the 88,868 structures which sustained damage, 31,198 were identified as totally destroyed, with an additional 16,908 severely damaged. More aggressive estimates assert that 50 percent of buildings were totally destroyed.

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