November 19, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Authority Denies Hamas Massacre at Music Festival

November 19, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Authority Denies Hamas Massacre at Music Festival

Latest Developments

A Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry spokesman denied that Hamas terrorists carried out the October 7 massacre of more than 360 people at the music festival near Kibbutz Re’im. In an official statement sent to foreign ministries and the United Nations on November 19, the PA distorts a flimsy Israeli newspaper article published November 18 that draws on an unnamed Israeli police source who said a few revelers may have been mistaken for terrorists and killed by an Israeli military helicopter who was responding to the attack.

The claim was quickly aired by some Arab news channels and went viral on anti-Israel social media, where influencers have played down the scope of the atrocities even as they readily disseminate Hamas propaganda about the toll on Palestinian civilians from the ensuing Gaza war. A Hamas spokesman cited the Haaretz story as showing that a “Zionist police investigation confirmed the bombing by a Zionist warplane on October 7 of Zionist celebrations near ‘Reim.’” The spokesman further posited that Israel had fabricated the events of the day in order to justify military action in Gaza.

The Israeli police issued a rebuttal on November 19. “Contrary to the publication, the police investigation does not refer to the activity of the IDF forces, and therefore no indication was given of any harm to civilians caused by any aerial activity at the site.” The police added, “Any effort to downplay the severity of these atrocities, as depicted in the misleading Haaretz newspaper publication, deserves unequivocal rejection.” The police called on news outlets to “take responsibility for their publications and only base stories on official sources.”

Expert Analysis

“The Palestinian Authority’s dissemination of the music festival distortion is a further reason to demand a major overhaul before it undertakes any role in post-war Gaza. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has denied the Holocaust and is now denying Hamas massacres. He is not a partner for peace.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The bankruptcy and bias of the media when it comes to Israel should be bleakly familiar by now. But this is a new low. Just weeks after the October 7 horrors, some of Israel’s own reporters are playing fast and loose with the rules of journalism. And such reporting will always find ready amplification in the TikTok-supercharged web of lies online. Israeli officialdom must move more quickly against such distortions. And it is high time that the editors of Israel’s major newspaper and outlets impose some self-scrutiny.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Flash Brief

War Goal Is Destruction of Hamas, Not Gaza Occupation Says Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Uses Gaza Hospital as Headquarters,” FDD Flash Brief

10 Things to Know About Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief


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