Israeli propaganda in Gaza: Experts debunk incubator, hostage hideout claims

Israeli propaganda in Gaza: Experts debunk incubator, hostage hideout claims
5 min read
14 November, 2023
Israel's claims that it is sending incubators to hospitals in Gaza and that it has found a hideout in a hospital where hostages were kept have spectacularly backfired.
Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari has often been the face of Israel's propaganda campaign [Getty / file photo]

Since the beginning of its indiscriminate bombing of Gaza on October 7, Israel has waged a propaganda and disinformation campaign to deflect responsibility for its actions and justify its bombing of the territory, where at least 11,451 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have now been killed.

Israel has resorted to fake audio, baseless claims and doctored imagery to whitewash its attack in Gaza.

The New Arab takes a look at some of Tel Aviv's latest propaganda efforts.

'Sending incubators' while shutting them down

Israel, though its official account on X, formerly Twitter, has shared several posts claiming it is sending incubators intended for premature babies to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which has ceased to operate and is under heavy Israeli bombardment.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army posted a video of a Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) spokesperson saying that Israel is "ready to assist" the pediatric ward in Al-Shifa.

Shani Sasson claimed that Israel had made "a formal offer" to health officials in the war-hit territory regarding the transfer of incubators, as the hospital suffers a crisis.

The crisis in question, however, is unrelated to incubators, but to fuel. Israel has cut off fuel supplies in Gaza, cutting off power to incubators and putting hospitals out of service. It has therefore placed the lives of babies and patients in danger.

Experts and activists called out Israel's claims. 

Rohan Talbot, the advocacy and campaigns director for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) said: "Weird propaganda. Shifa already has incubators. The point is the babies had to be removed from them because the generator shut down. They need generator fuel and an end to attacks on the hospital."

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At least six premature babies have died in the past four days as doctors had no choice but to remove them from incubators which had shut down due to the lack of fuel

The Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s biggest, has been the target of nonstop Israeli bombardment in recent days, which has trapped up to 3,000 Palestinians inside, including patients, displaced people and medical staff.

Sasson said that Israel was "at war with Hamas", and not the people of Gaza, despite the killing of close to 11,500 people in the territory, nearly all of them civilians.

Weekdays, not personal names

In another video, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari claimed that a piece of paper hung on a wall in the Al-Rantisi Children's Hospital showed the names of Hamas members supposedly "guarding" Israeli hostages seized in the surprise Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

Hagari alleged that the room is where the hostages were held.

However, on closer inspection the Arabic writing on the paper reads as the days of the week, i.e Monday, Tuesday and so on. The weekdays - along with dates - are also written out vertically and horizontally in a table, resembling a calendar.

The calendar, however, does show the words "Al-Aqsa Flood battle", in reference to Hamas's name for its surprise attack on Israel. However, no names can be seen written on the paper, despite Hagari’s claims.

The army spokesperson also implied that the basement in the Rantisi hospital was used to keep captives, pointing at nappies, clothes, toilets and baby bottles as "evidence".

"We can see infrastructure that was built here. Toilets, shower and a small kitchen will provide the terrorists their needs," Hagari said.

Experts including researcher Charles Lister debunked Hagari's claims, saying that the footage clearly indicated that the basement is a bomb shelter, as Israel has relentlessly attacked hospitals in the Gaza Strip.

The head of communications at the EuroMed monitor, Muhammad Shehada asked that if Hamas was truly keeping hostages in the hospital's basement, how "were they able to move" in front of Israeli tanks?

Oldest trick in the book

There have been many more examples of Israeli disinformation and propaganda over the past five weeks.

At the beginning of the war, Israel claimed that Hamas had beheaded 40 Israeli babies without presenting any concrete evidence.

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The claim was made by army commander David Ben Zion, and was eventually reported by several international news agencies as fact. The Israeli government went on to eventually say that such claims could not be confirmed.

In another incident earlier this week, Ofir Gendelman, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was called out for trying to pass behind-the-scenes footage from a recently-shot Lebanese short film as "evidence" that Gazans were "faking injuries".

In almost every previous military campaign in Gaza, Israel has stated that "Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields" in order to justify its bombing of hospital, schools and other civilian facilities.