Israel has form over sociopathic lies like it’s spun about the Al-Ahli bombing – as a Regev interview from 2014 shows

Mark Regev and Emily Maitlis on Newsnight in 2014 Israel Al-Ahli
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Israel has been blamed for the bombing of the Al-Ahli hospital in northern Gaza. At the time of publication, the attack had killed hundreds of people.

Israel has claimed it was a Palestinian rocket that hit the hospital. But many people are accusing Israel of lying – and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it was. Because in 2014, it used the exact same arguments when it killed dozens of people at a UN shelter.

Al-Ahli hospital: Israel’s ever-changing story

Israel has repeatedly changed its story over what was clearly its attack on the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital. In the immediate aftermath, media advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu Hananya Naftali tweeted that it was an Israeli airstrike that hit the hospital. However, he then quickly deleted it:

Read on...

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Then, some Israeli commentators as well the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) were that positing it might have been a failed Hamas rocket:

After this, the IDF began to claim it was a rogue rocket from the group Islamic Jihad. However, even this claim looked suspicious – given the IDF shared video as evidence which it then had to delete, because people noticed it had been filmed after the attack:

However, people were not buying the Israeli narrative – including some corporate media journalists:

Moreover, bosses at the Al-Ahli hospital – which Israel had, in fact, already bombed two days prior – also claim Israel pre-warned them it would attack it.

As of 2pm on Wednesday 18 October, the IDF was sticking to its line that a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket hit the Al-Ahli Hospital, saying it had plenty of evidence for this claim. However, replies to these tweets showed that people still weren’t buying it.

The problem with Israel’s claims is that it has form on lying about atrocities it’s committed – and then backtracking once the initial outrage has passed:

A perfect example of this was a similar incident during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge assault on Gaza during the summer of 2014.

The Beit Hanoun massacre: using the textbook again

On 24 July 2014, 15 people, including children, were killed at the Beit Hanoun Elementary school in Gaza, and more than 200 were injured. The school was being used as a UN shelter.

UN workers had asked the IDF for a window to evacuate staff and civilians which they effectively refused to grant. The massacre happened when mortar hit people waiting in the car park to leave. Immediately, Israel said it was a Hamas missile that killed and injured people. However, it eventually admitted that it was an IDF mortar that hit the school. Yet even when Israel did confess, it still tried to lie. As Relief Web wrote:

The Israeli military alleged that Hamas fighters had “operated adjacent to” the school. After coming under fire with anti-tank missiles, soldiers responded by “firing several mortars in their direction.” The military said a “single errant mortar” hit the school courtyard, which was “completely empty” – a claim disputed by seven witnesses who separately spoke to Human Rights Watch.

Witnesses described at least four shells striking in and around the compound within a few minutes…

So, we’re seeing a textbook response from Israel over the Al-Ahli hospital – the one it always uses. However, what we’re also seeing is the same, wicked manipulation of the situation from Israeli spokespeople.

Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s senior adviser, was on Sky News in the aftermath of the Al-Ahli attack. Anchor Anna Botting asked Regev “how many civilian buildings” Israel had destroyed in Gaza. Regev said:

We don’t target civilian structures. That is incorrect what you’ve said. We don’t target civilian structures…

Botting immediately came back at Regev:

So what are those high-rise buildings we’ve seen destroyed?

Regev claimed:

They are Hamas targets.

Botting seemed disgusted by Regev’s denials:

Sadly, Regev’s lying and Israel’s wider manipulation of the narrative is the same MO they had in 2014 – as a Newsnight interview with Regev at the time showed.

Regev: cold and calculated

Former Newsnight host Emily Maitlis grilled Regev over the Beit Hanoun Elementary school massacre – and nine years ago, he was using the exact same script we saw in the aftermath of the Al-Ahli bombing. He claimed, just as he did on 17 October 2023 to Sky News, that:

Israel does not want to see any civilian casualties in our operation – not one.

A visibly furious Maitlis, who had been pushing Regev already for nearly five minutes, at one point put it to Regev that:

But you said you were going to hit it. You hit it. You killed them. You knew there were children in that building.

Regev replied:

Sorry, how do you know? The UN itself reported that there was Hamas rocket fire falling in Beit Hanoun…

We of course now know Regev was lying:

The echoes of 2014 with the Al-Ahli bombing are clear: a civilian building, which Israel had told to evacuate, then gets hit – and Israel immediately blames the Palestinians.

Israel: sociopaths and liars

Overall, at the time of publication, Israel was still denying responsibility for the Al-Ahli massacre – with US president Joe Biden reportedly agreeing. However, as journalist Ben Smoke said on Twitter:

The level of Israel’s dehumanisation of Palestinian people during this time has bordered on the sociopathic. Minutes after the attack on Al-Ahli Hospital, Israel’s national security minister tweeted:

As long as Hamas does not release the hostages in its hands – the only thing that needs to enter Gaza are hundreds of tons of explosives from the Air Force, not an ounce of humanitarian aid. [Translated from Hebrew via Google]

Israel has committed clear war crimes in Gaza – and has clear genocidal intent. For it to deny the Al-Ahli massacre is almost irrelevant at this point, because with its history of habitual lying, why would anyone – except its far-right, fascistic supporters – believe a word the Israeli government says?

Featured image via BBC Newsnight – YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. As Caitlin Johnstone has asked, how is it that Israeli military intelligence is suddenly capable of intercepting alleged Hamas communications about this hospital explosion, but was completely in the dark during the months of preparations for the 7 October attack by the same organisation? Let us hope that the facts will emerge soon.

    2. What I find truly disgusting about the right wing wankers who are buying Israel’s story, is that they keep pushing it because they want the bombing to continue. The want the deaths to continue, they want the maiming to continue, and they want the hunger, thirst and malnutrition caused by the blockade to continue. Even before the hospital was bombed over 3000 people had been murdered, not to mention those with life changing injuries. These right wing pundits are as bad as Hamas, except unlike Hamas they are cowards! Hamas had Israel thrust upon them, let us not forget.

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