PA falsely says Oct. 7 rave massacre was committed by IDF; Netanyahu: Preposterous

Following strong Israeli rebuke, Palestinian Authority foreign ministry deletes claim from social media; Ramallah also claims Israel ‘fabricated’ material to justify war on Hamas

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Illustrative: an aerial picture from October 10, 2023, shows the abandoned site of the Supernova music festival, near Kibbutz Re'im, where some 360 people were killed in Hamas's brutal October 7 onslaught. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Illustrative: an aerial picture from October 10, 2023, shows the abandoned site of the Supernova music festival, near Kibbutz Re'im, where some 360 people were killed in Hamas's brutal October 7 onslaught. (Jack Guez/AFP)

The Palestinian Authority falsely claimed Sunday that a preliminary investigation by the Israel Police has revealed that the Israel Defense Forces was responsible for the death of all 364 partygoers near Kibbutz Re’im during Hamas’s October 7 onslaught, drawing fierce denunciation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid.

In a statement by its foreign ministry which has since been deleted from its social media accounts — but which Hebrew media said was sent as a document to diplomats and to the United Nations — Ramallah asserted that Israeli helicopters bombed Israeli civilians on October 7 during the Supernova music festival as part of the so-called “Hannibal Protocol, which allowed the occupation police and army to kill everyone.”

The Hannibal Protocol was a controversial military order repealed in 2016 that granted troops broad permission to do whatever is necessary to prevent the kidnapping of a fellow soldier, including the possibility of endangering their life.

However, the claim disseminated by the PA has no basis in reality, originating in a Haaretz story Saturday that quoted an unnamed police source saying one of the options being looked into is that a small number of partygoers had been harmed on October 7 by fire from a military chopper that had been directed at the Hamas terrorists. The police denied the Haaretz report.

The PA, in its statement, also claimed that Israel then “fabricated” media material to justify its offensive against the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

“Therefore, the ministry believes that the result of this investigation casts doubt on the Israeli reports regarding the destruction and killing that took place in that area,” the statement alleged, ignoring the rest of the Haaretz story and the overwhelming visual, audial and eyewitness evidence about hundreds of Hamas gunmen storming the desert rave’s grounds and hunting down everyone they could find.

The statement referred to Israeli communities in the Gaza border area as “settlements,” even though they are inside Israel proper and not in the West Bank or Gaza. Hamas, and other terror groups, apply the term to any Israeli locality, in line with their stated ideology that the whole of Israel is illegitimate and their explicit goal of annihilating the Jewish state in its entirety.

File: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

The PA statement called on all media outlets, UN officials and country leaders to follow up on and review what Israel media publishes.

The remarks came just a day after US President Joe Biden said that a “revitalized” PA should rule the Gaza Strip following the war, something Israel has repeatedly rejected, pointing to its refusal to condemn the October 7 onslaught — and now its apparent refusal to acknowledge that it even happened.

The assertion in the Haaretz article was widely picked up in the Arab press and shared on social media, distorted and taken out of context.

Police have confirmed that 364 people were killed at the Supernova rave, nearly one-third of the 1,200 people, mostly civilians, killed during their October 7 devastating onslaught on southern Israel. Some 240 people were also kidnapped by the gunmen into Gaza. Israel then launched an air and ground offensive aimed at eliminating Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the Palestinian Authority for its falsehood, calling the statement “utterly preposterous.”

“It denied that it was Hamas that carried out the horrible massacre at the nature festival near Gaza,” Netanyahu said in a video statement released on Sunday in Hebrew and English. “It actually accused Israel of carrying out that massacre. This is a complete reversal of truth.”

Netanyahu said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, “who in the past has denied the existence of the Holocaust, today is denying the existence of the Hamas massacre and that’s unacceptable.”

“My goal is that the day after we destroy Hamas, any future civil administration in Gaza does not deny the massacre, does not educate its children to become terrorists, does not pay for terrorists, and does not tell its children that their ultimate goal in life is to see the destruction and dissolution of the State of Israel,” he said. “That’s not acceptable and that is not the way to achieve peace.”

File: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on November 11, 2023. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid joined the condemnation of the “abominable and false” PA statement.

“Whoever denies the massacre, makes themselves complicit in the worst crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” Lapid added.

A police statement issued in response to the Haaretz quote said that its investigation has focused only on police activities on October 7, not any IDF activities, and therefore did not provide “any indication about the harm to civilians due to aerial activity there.”

The statement called on news outlets to “take responsibility for their publications and only base stories on official sources.”

The IDF did not comment on the report. The military has said it will investigate the October 7 attacks after the war.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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