Palestinian diplomat: IDF might ‘burn, behead’ Gaza corpses to claim Hamas atrocities

PA’s ambassador to Nigeria speculates Israel will mutilate bodies of Palestinians killed in Strip to fabricate evidence of October 7 crimes by terror group

Palestinians pray over bodies of people killed in the Israel-Hamas war who were brought from Shifa Hospital before burying them in a mass grave in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023. (AP Photo/ Mohammed Dahman)
Palestinians pray over bodies of people killed in the Israel-Hamas war who were brought from Shifa Hospital before burying them in a mass grave in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023. (AP Photo/ Mohammed Dahman)

The Palestinian envoy to Nigeria has claimed Israel might mutilate the bodies of Palestinians killed in the war in Gaza in order to fabricate evidence of Hamas atrocities against Israelis.

Abdullah Abu Shawesh made the claims in a phone interview on January 9 with Al Jazeera, ahead of the hearings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in which South Africa has charged Israel with committing genocide in Gaza.

In a recording from the interview posted online by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Thursday, Abu Shawesh could be heard asserting that Israel may seek to harm the corpses of Palestinians so that it can falsely claim that they are Israeli victims of the Hamas attacks in southern Israel on October 7.

“October 7 is a fact and we should not deny that it was a difficult thing,” he said in the recording, before proceeding to claim that no civilians were killed in the massacres carried out by Hamas, in which some 1,200 people were slaughtered and around 240 were seized as hostages amid acts of horrific brutality.

“All the lies spread by Israel like the rape of women… the killing of civilians, the beheading of 40 babies, all these lies were spread first and foremost by [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu during his conversation with the US president,” he claimed.

Despite Abu Shawesh’s claim that the Hamas attack did not target civilians, data published by Israel in December showed that at least 764 civilians were killed in the deadly attacks. The majority of those taken hostage were also civilians.

Furthermore, the false claim that 40 babies were beheaded was not spread by Netanyahu, but rather by a reporter who claimed she had been told about it by an IDF commander. However, the claim was never verified by any Israeli security or government officials.

While the rumored beheading of 40 babies turned out to be unfounded, at least 12 children under the age of 10 were killed by Hamas on October 7, including a 10-month-old infant.

The rape of women at the hands of Hamas terrorists has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by Israeli authorities, and the United Nations said earlier this week that the mounting evidence of rapes and genital mutilations point to Hamas terrorists committing possible crimes against humanity, which the terror group has denied.

Protestors gather outside the UN headquarters in New York City on December 4, 2023, to protest the international community’s perceived silence on sexual violence committed by Hamas terrorists against Israeli women during the October 7 massacre. (Carli Fogel)

Dismissing the evidence as lies, Abu Shawesh suggested Israel will fabricate evidence to support its “many claims,” and will do this by mutilating the bodies of Palestinians killed amid the fighting in Gaza.

“They stole corpses of Palestinians and of Palestinian children. They dug up graves,” he said. “We have a feeling that this criminal country might behead the [corpses] of children that it stole from the graves and then present them as evidence, or that it will burn children and Palestinian corpses to present them as evidence in the coming days.”

Abu Shawesh’s claims echoed ones made by Hamas, which has asserted that the IDF stole more than 150 bodies from cemeteries in order to harvest their organs.

In December, Israel took the bodies of several dozen people from morgues and graves in Gaza amid suspicions there were murdered hostages among them, but then returned them to Gaza and they were buried in a mass grave.

A man sits by the bodies of his relatives killed in an Israeli strike, at the morgue of al-Najjar hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on January 3, 2024 (AFP)

Abu Shawesh’s claims came as the ICJ reviews South Africa’s accusation of Israel having committed “genocide” against Palestinians during the ongoing war in Gaza.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says over 23,000 people have been killed in the fighting, though these figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.

The IDF says it has killed over 8,500 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Israel says it is intent on destroying Hamas due to its brutal attacks on the country, and makes efforts to avoid harming civilians in the Strip but cannot avoid it entirely, as the terror group hides and operates from within the population.

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