Instrumentalizing human rights for political gains: sensationalized media coverage of alleged human rights crimes instead of independent investigation betrays the victims

The French newspaper “Libération” published a lengthy investigation into the stories circulated by the Israeli authorities about cutting off the heads of children, raping women, and tearing open the stomachs of pregnant women. The newspaper’s fact-finding team concluded that most of these stories were false and were aimed at inciting international public opinion and gathering support for a revenge operation against Gaza. Here are some excerpts, translated from the French  report:


On October 7, Hamas, and later other Palestinian factions, killed more than 1,200 people, including about 800 civilians, including the elderly, families, women, and children. The newspaper's investigative team returned in detail, on numerous occasions, to these documented and often photographed acts, which Hamas continues to deny, despite countless evidence.


However, over the past two months, the investigation team has also noted numerous unconfirmed or inconsistent stories and testimonies. Today, the final results of the attack are almost known. And also for the many civilians who were killed, and the circumstances of their deaths. However, available data confirms that some of the atrocities initially described did not happen, and these false testimonies relate almost exclusively to allegations of child abuse, which were at the heart of the media war that began two months ago and have been relayed for weeks by volunteer rescuers, soldiers or Israeli army officials, but also by the head of state and Israeli diplomacy. It was rich material for the international press, as well as Western political leaders.


Did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Foreign Ministry, or even Michal Herzog, wife of President Isaac Herzog, deliberately spread lies, sometimes in diplomatic talks at the highest levels, with the aim of garnering support from international public opinion? October 7 was a real massacre, but it was also the subject of war propaganda.

The lie of forty children and beheadings

On Tuesday, October 10, the Israeli army allowed two foreign press journalists to enter Kibbutz Kfar Azza, located less than one kilometer from the Gaza Strip. One of the testimonies stands out: Nicole Zedek, a correspondent for the English-language Hebrew channel i24News, who reported: “One of the commanders here said that at least 40 children were killed,” adding that “some of them were beheaded.” He said he had never seen such atrocities before.


This statement will be repeated by the media around the world, but also by the Israeli authorities, for several weeks. The next day, the official Twitter account of the State of Israel published a video clip from the i24 channel recalling the Kafr Azza massacre, accompanied by the phrase: “40 children were killed.” The statement then found itself prominently among the videos that flooded Israel's Internet in October denouncing Hamas' crimes.


In particular, a clip from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted the “forty children” who were killed, in imitation of children’s programs, against a backdrop of unicorns and rainbows.


This assertion is now contradicted by the numbers. As of December 5, the Israeli police had notified the Israel National Insurance Institute, whose statistics serve as today's reference, of the names of 789 identified civilian casualties (excluding security forces), and published 686 of them, and the Foreign Ministry told us that only ten were civilian casualties. Their identities have not been established, and among the 100 unpublished names, a very large number are known thanks to the systematic collection work carried out by numerous media outlets (including Haaretz) and Israeli associations, in particular on the basis of reports submitted by the families of the victims, and as It is highly unlikely that the existence of other young victims remains unknown two months after the events, as internal sources from the Israeli forensic medical institutes that received the bodies confirmed to us that “the official assessments are correct,” a journalist from the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.


According to medical institutes, only one child was found among the civilians killed on October 7. They are Mila Cohen, 10 months old, who was shot and killed in Be'eri along with her father. But according to our information, there is a second child: Omer Kedem Siman Tov, who died in his burning house in Kibbutz Nir Oz, along with his 5-year-old sisters, after their parents were shot. Omer Kedem Siman Tov appears in the institute's file as 4 years old, but


Several consistent items consulted by our investigation team, and privately available on the social networks of the deceased family, indicate that he was in fact two years and three months old at the time of his murder, and other than these two cases, no other children were killed on October 7 in The kibbutzim, and there was no “headless” child, contrary to what was widely reported. 

Yossi Landau told several international media outlets that he discovered the body of a pregnant woman with a bullet wound to her head, and her abdomen was cut open to remove the fetus that had been stabbed.


Haaretz newspaper indicates that Yossi Landau confirmed that the pregnant woman was found dead near House 426, which consists of two apartments and is located in a neighborhood where mainly elderly people live. According to the survivors of the building who were interviewed by the Israeli newspaper, there was no pregnant woman.


However, the Israeli authorities have highlighted this horrific testimony, for example in a message posted by the Israeli Embassy in the United States on Twitter (now X) and Instagram, on October 27. In a recent column published in the American magazine Newsweek, entitled “‘The silence of international authorities in the face of mass rapes committed by Hamas is a betrayal of all women,’” lawyer and First Lady of Israel, Michelle Herzog, also referred to this act and stated: “A Hamas videotape shows One of the kibbutzim terrorists tortured a pregnant woman and extracted her fetus.”


Our investigative team was able to view a video being circulated that claims to provide evidence of this abuse, and since this has been specifically corrected by the Anti-Defamation League, a leading US NGO in the fight against anti-Semitism, the images were in fact taken. From a video shared in 2018, which allegedly shows abuses committed by a Mexican cartel and is not there.


These atrocities, initially described by Landau, were reported verbatim on October 31 to the US Senate by Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State: “A little boy and a little girl, ages 6 and 8, and their parents were around the breakfast table, Where the father’s eye was gouged out in front of his children, the mother’s breast was cut off, the girl’s foot was amputated, and the boy’s fingers were cut off before they were executed...and after that their tormentors sat and ate a meal...this is what this society faces.”


According to our investigations, no child between the ages of 6 and 11 years old died in Be’eri, according to available reports, and the only family that witnessed the death of two children of different genders in Be’eri is the Hatsroni family, whose circumstances of death, previously mentioned, do not match Landau’s account. It is impossible to know whether the elements reported by the head of the relief organization are a distortion of the facts of an event or an invention.


The goal is to obtain American and international support to take revenge on Gaza

 This campaign, launched in the ears of political leaders and promoted on social media and among journalists, was intended to mobilize, and then consolidate, Israeli and international public support for the violent reprisals in Gaza, and had the side effect of fueling strong denial. of the October 7 crimes on social media, casting doubt on the true accounts of the attack that killed about 800 civilians.








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