No, 500 Civilians Weren't Killed by a Bomb Dropped by Israel on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital

AP Photo/Abed Khaled

Joe Biden landed in Israel on Wednesday and walked right into controversy.

Just prior to his arrival, a misfired Hamas rocket — or a wayward Israeli bomb — struck a hospital where hundreds of Palestinians had taken shelter. Reports are claiming 500 were killed in the blast.

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Who’s responsible? Biden blamed “the other team” for the atrocity.

“I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” said Biden, sitting alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Tel Aviv hotel. “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears it was done by the other team, and not you.”

At the same time, he added, “There’s a lot of people out there who are not sure. So we’ve gotta overcome a lot of things.”

The Gaza Al-Ahli Baptist hospital remains intact
byu/012341 inconspiracy

Biden says that information from the U.S. military led him to conclude that it was a rocket launched from Gaza that misfired and fell into the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital parking lot. Israeli sources are saying it was fired by the terrorist group Islamic Jihad. The Mossad intercepted a call between two men the agency refers to as Hamas operatives One and Two, talking about the strike. They are seemingly in disbelief that the blasts could have come from their own side.

“I’m telling you, this is the first time that we have seen a missile like this falling and so that’s why we are saying it belongs the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” says one man.

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The other responds, “What?” and the first continues, “They are saying it belongs to Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” according to the English captions of the conversation. “It’s from us?” the first asks. “It looks like it,” responds the second.

“Who says this?” asks the first. The second replies that shrapnel from the missile “is local shrapnel and not like Israeli shrapnel.”

“What are you saying?” one asks, and the other explains that the missile had been shot from the cemetery from behind the hospital “and it misfired and fell on them.”

There’s no proof that the two men talking are members of Islamic Jihad or Hamas. There’s no proof of anything that exonerates or condemns either side. Some of the IDF video of a missile falling out of the sky was not contemporary and was replaced after a few hours. And the Hamas effort at propaganda — the grisly video of doctors (we’re told) surrounded by a sea of dead bodies — falls a little short of convincing.

There’s no confirmation that “hundreds” of civilians died. If it was an Islamic Jihad rocket, it wouldn’t have done much damage or killed a lot of people — just as the first photo above appears to show. The Hamas/Islamic Jihad rockets, known as one of a variation of Grad rockets, are extremely unsophisticated and not very powerful.

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On the other hand, if it had been an American-made JDAM precision-guided bomb, the blast would have been unmistakable — a deep crater with soil thrown up all around it.

Google translation of the above post: “A photo by Palestinian photographer Muhammad al-Masri shows the Baptist in Gaza after last night’s destruction. If this operation had been an Israeli aerial bombardment, we would have seen a deep hole in the parking lot and great destruction to the buildings around it.…

Indeed, a “walkthrough” of the area by the Center For Naval Analysis shows little damage — just some charred automobiles.

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The problem is a familiar one when dealing with propaganda. The narrative of “500 civilians killed after Israel bombed a hospital” is now set in stone, and trying to prove otherwise — especially when actual physical evidence is lacking — will be a huge challenge.

Exaggerating casualties is the only way Hamas will be able to regain the world’s sympathy after what happened on Oct. 7. The fact that the atrocities committed by Hamas are rapidly falling down the memory hole isn’t surprising.

But that doesn’t make it any less nauseating.

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