Al Jazeera and Hamas Retract Story Alleging IDF Soldiers Raping Civilians in Gaza Hospital

News & Politics

It was a story that for Al Jazeera was too good to be true. In the end, that’s exactly what it proved to be.

Al Jazeera, the Qatari-based news network, ran a shocking story about IDF soldiers raping women in the Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The same woman who made the rape allegation also claimed that Israeli soldiers were sending dogs after innocent civilians.

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Needless to say, both allegations were false, and there’s some indication that Al-Jazeera knew it at the time it published the story.

“It was revealed through Hamas investigations that the story of the rape of women in Al-Shifa Hospital was fabricated… The woman who spoke about rape justified her exaggeration and incorrect talk by saying that the goal was to arouse the nation’s fervor and brotherhood,” tweeted Al Jazeera columnist and former director Yasser Abuhilala. 

The story was, on its face, obviously false. The woman, Jamila al-Hessi, offered no proof whatsoever for her incendiary charges. So why did Al Jazeera run it? Even the minimal standards of Western journalism would have waited for some kind of confirmation that the story was accurate. 

Jerusalem Post:

The original story published by Al Jazeera featured a “testimony” by Jamila Al-Hessi, a Gazan woman who claimed that while she was under siege in the area of the hospital complex, she witnessed IDF soldiers “raping women then killing them and burning entire families alive.”

The fake testimony went viral, with many expressing their rage at Israel and at what they deemed Arab failure to protect the honor of Palestinian women, even asking where Hamas and the resistance had gone. However, Israeli news blogger Abu Ali Express also reported that the viral fake testimony also had unexpected reverse ripple effects, leading many Gazans to flee their homes in the northern Gaza strip southwards, which may explain the unusual event of a Hamas investigation into the details.

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Al Jazeera has never proven itself to be anything but a mouthpiece for radical Arab causes. Despite massive funding from the Qatar royal family and its stated desire to be taken seriously as a news outlet, it hasn’t shown itself to be capable of covering Middle East issues without adding a tint of radical Islam.

Meanwhile, to prove Mark Twain’s point about a lie making its way halfway around the world before the truth puts its shoes on, some State Department flunkie ran with the Al Jazeera fabricated story about IDF rapes.

IDF Reserves Brig. Gen. Amir Avivi met with a State Department employee who accused Israel of “systematically” raping women. 

 ”It was a meeting that shook me. We sat there, talked about the situation, and suddenly she accused Israel of systematically sexually abusing Palestinian women,” Avivi said. “This is absolutely disconnected from reality. But the U.S. State Department official said, ‘The UN presented evidence to the Israeli government.’ I told her, ‘Does it make sense that this phenomenon would exist and the media would never have reported on it?'”

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There has been eyewitness testimony and documentary evidence of Hamas abusing Israeli women. A reckoning for those crimes will come soon after the fighting has stopped. 

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