Hamas on Sunday released a statement denying its members committed atrocities on Oct. 7.
The denial is a complete reversal for the terrorist group and a total disavowal of its own footage, after it supplied GoPro cameras to its operatives so that they could capture for posterity their horrific deeds on that day.
“Avoiding harm to civilians, especially children, women and elderly people, is a religious and moral commitment by all the Al-Qassam Brigades’ fighters,” Hamas stated in the 16-page document, claiming it only targeted Israeli military sites. (The Al-Qassam Brigades is Hamas’s so-called military wing.)
“We reiterate that the Palestinian resistance was fully disciplined and committed to the Islamic values during the operation and that the Palestinian fighters only targeted the occupation soldiers and those who carried weapons against our people,” it added, saying that its members were “keen to avoid harming civilians” and that any such targeting was by accident.
The claim is astonishing given the hours of footage taken by the organization’s members in which they’re seen shooting innocent Israelis throughout Oct. 7.
Around 1,200 persons, mostly civilians, were killed that day and 253 were forcibly taken to Gaza to be held in abysmal conditions, living on starvation diets and denied medical care.
(The first batch of medicine destined for the remaining hostages entered the Gaza Strip last week. Israel is still waiting for proof that the medicines reached the captives.)
Hamas continues to hold 136 hostages, although a few dozen of them are believed to have died.
Avi Hyman, spokesman for Israel’s National Public Diplomacy Directorate, remarking on Hamas’s recent denial, told JNS on Monday that “Hamas is only fooling themselves, if anyone at all.
“What we saw on October 7 was, in the words of the German chancellor [Olaf Scholz], a new type of Nazi. But the thing about the Nazis is the Nazis tried to cover up their crimes at the end of the war, whereas Hamas were Nazis with GoPros. They were filming the whole thing,” Hyman said.
“Why they would think that today, 108 days later, we would believe this nonsense is absurd. But again, we know who Hamas is. We know that they butcher babies and we know they butcher the truth,” he said.
Fear and pressure
Hamas’s about-face, from proudly streaming its atrocities to denying it ever carried them out is driven by two things—fear and pressure brought on by successful Israeli PR—Mordechai Kedar, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, told JNS.
First, Hamas is scared. “Israel is determined to carry on the war whatever the price in order to get rid of Hamas. And in Khan Yunis, apparently the IDF has had some successes and they are afraid that the IDF will wipe them out,” Kedar said. “They’ll now say whatever they think will help them.”
Second, the Hamas statement is an acknowledgment that Israel’s public relations battle has been working. Israel managed to paint Hamas as another ISIS. The terrorist group is trying to improve its image “after Israeli hasbara [public diplomacy] equated them with ISIS. Since the first day, Israel was saying, ‘Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas,'” he said.
Even U.S. President Joe Biden adopted the formula, Kedar noted. On Oct. 18, Biden said Hamas has “committed evil atrocities that make ISIS look somewhat rational.”
Israel used clips that Hamas’s own men uploaded to Telegram against it. Israel made a “movie of horrors,” based in part on footage from terrorists’ GoPros, Kedar said, along with other footage taken from dash cams of victims, cellphones and security cameras.
Israel has shown the 40-plus minute video far and wide.
Nonetheless, many people will still believe Hamas’s latest lie, said Kedar, noting that when he appears on Arabic media, he’s told even by the moderators that “Israel has no proof.
“I tell them that those terrorists actually burnt the bodies of girls they raped in order to erase all evidence,” he said.
Such deniers aren’t just in the Islamic world but also in the West, Kedar said. Supporting his assessment, The Washington Post on Sunday reported that “Oct. 7 denial is spreading” in online forums.
Oct. 7 “Truthers” have started calling the Hamas invasion an Israeli false flag operation, according to the report.
“A small but growing group denies the basic facts of the attacks, pushing a spectrum of falsehoods and misleading narratives that minimize the violence or dispute its origins. Some argue the ambush was staged by the Israeli military to justify an invasion of Gaza,” the Post reported.
“Hamas is trying to inflate those rumors that Israel is lying about the whole thing,” Kedar said. “It totally goes against reality.”