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Hamas releases report on 7 October, admits 'faults'

Hamas says 7 October followed '105-year war on Palestinians', admits 'faults'
3 min read
Palestinian Islamist group Hamas have denied several allegations made by Israel over the 7 October attacks, saying the claims intended to 'demonise' the group.

Palestinian faction Hamas has released a 16-page report on Sunday detailing its view of the 7 October attack, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people, including civilians and soldiers, according to official Israeli figures.

Hamas addressed the attack and Israel's war that followed on the besieged Gaza enclave, which has so far killed over 25,000 poeple - mostly women and children.

Hamas said the 7 October surprise assault was a "necessary step" against the Israeli occupation.

The document, titled "Our Narrative... Operation Al-Aqsa Flood", was published in both English and Arabic and released on the group's Telegram channel.

'105-year battle'

In the document, Hamas frames the "Al-Aqsa Flood" operation as part of a broader Palestinian "anti-colonial" struggle, stretching back to the days of the British Mandate. Israeli officials have underscored 7 October as the beginning of the current conflict in their "self-defence" argument.

"The battle of the Palestinian people against occupation and colonialism did not start on October 7, but started 105 years ago, including 30 years of British colonialism and 75 years of Zionist occupation," the document says in its opening chapter.

Highlighting the failed peace process, mass incarceration of Palestinians, "Judaization" of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the 17-year blockade on Gaza, the group asked: "What did the world expect from the Palestinian people to do?".

The group also argues that its fight against Israel was justified under international law, stating: "We stress that resisting the occupation with all means including the armed resistance is a legitimized right by all norms, divine religions, the international laws including the Geneva Conventions and its first additional protocol and the related UN resolutions."

Civilian deaths

Since the 7 October attack, conflicting narratives have emerged over what occurred in southern Israel, when Hamas fighters, allied militants and civilians stormed across the border fence.

Hamas admits in the document that "some faults happened... due to the rapid collapse of the Israeli security and military system, and the chaos caused along the border areas with Gaza".

However, the group also attempted to justify some of the deaths, disputing the use of the word "civilian".

"When speaking about Israeli civilians, it must be known that conscription applies to all Israelis above the age of 18 - males who served 32 months of military service and females who served 24 months - where all can carry and use arms," the group said.

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Referencing statements from survivors, Israeli officials and media reports, Hamas also blamed Israel for the civilian deaths on 7 October.

"Many Israelis were killed by the Israeli army and police due to their confusion," the group said.

It also pushed back against allegations of rape, sexual assault and necrophilia, while also highlighting the now-debunked "beheaded babies" claim that was widely reported.

Hamas rejected the accusations, saying they were intended to "demonise" the group.

Hamas urged "the immediate halt of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, the crimes and ethnic cleansing committed against the entire Gaza population" and the group said it rejected any international and Israeli efforts to decide Gaza's post-war future.

"We stress that the Palestinian people have the capacity to decide their future and to arrange their internal affairs," the report said, adding that "no party in the world" had the right to decide on their behalf.

Dr. Azmi Bishara, Director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, said the report was a "positive step" despite being delivered more than 100 days into Israel's onslaught on Gaza.

Some observers have speculated that the timing, and the document's release in Arabic and English, may also have been in response to Palestinian pressure over Israel's onslaught on Gaza, forcing the group to clarify its aims.