Thursday, June 13, 2024

AP debunks allegations of sexual violence by Hamas

Photo: Anadolu Agency

Allegations of sexual violence that surfaced against Palestinian resistance, after the 7 October “Al Aqsa Floods” operation, have been proven to be false by an Associated Press report.

In an article titled “How 2 debunked accounts of sexual violence on Oct. 7 fueled a global dispute over Israel-Hamas war”, the US-based news agency cited a set of revelations to support their claim.

According to the report, Chaim Otmazgin, a volunteer commander with ZAKA, an Israeli search and rescue organisation, who had earlier accused Hamas of committing sexual violence, withdrew his allegations.

He was quoted as saying: “It’s not that I invented a story … At the end, it turned out to be different, so I corrected myself.”

During the rescue operation in Kibbutz, Otmazgin found the body of a teenager, shot dead and separated from the rest of her family, and her pants had been pulled down below her waist. 

He deemed what he saw as an evidence of sexual violence and tearfully recounted the details in a nationally televised appearance in the Israeli Parliament. 

The video of his highly emotional narration went viral over the days and weeks that followed the Hamas attack.

Later, even though it turned out that what Otmazgin thought had occurred in the home at the kibbutz hadn’t happened, the damage had already been done.

The false narrations against the Palestinian resistance fueled the propaganda for Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza.

“It took ZAKA months to acknowledge the accounts were wrong, allowing them to proliferate. And the fallout from the debunked accounts shows how the topic of sexual violence has been used to further political agendas,” AP said.

In another instance, Otmazgin’s colleague Yossi Landau told the media he had seen “a pregnant woman lying on the floor, her foetus still attached to the umbilical cord wrenched from her body.” His account was not confirmed by any of the volunteers who entered the room, including Otmazgin, who said he saw “the body of a heavy-set woman and an unidentifiable hunk attached to an electric cable. Everything was charred.”

Though Landau agreed that he had misinterpreted what he saw, he continued to tell journalists his story, adding that there had been beheaded children on site.

However, the UN has found that Landau’s claims are unfounded.

Several debunked accounts have encouraged a bombardment of lies about what occurred on October 7, and many of them are still playing out on social media and in college campus protests against the pro-Palestinian camp oppossing Israel’s ongoing genocidal onslaught.

“AP’s examination of ZAKA’s handling of the now debunked stories shows how information can be clouded and distorted in the chaos of the conflict,” the report added.

The group called on US President Joe Biden and members of European countries to “apologise…stop repeating these false accusations against the resistance and the Palestinian people”.

Meanwhile, Hamas welcomed the AP report in an official statement.

“The report published by the American Associated Press agency, in which it confirmed that the allegations of the Zionist entity that the Palestinian resistance committed sexual violence on 7 October are not true, and that they were deliberately fabricated, is a new slap in the face of the promoters of these baseless allegations,” it said.

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