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Türkiye combats disinformation in Palestine-Israel conflict

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A disinformation bulletin exposed Israeli propaganda regarding the war in Gaza, including false reports of Hamas headquarters and shooting of fleeing Palestinian civilians.

The Turkish Presidency’s Directorate of Communications has debunked a series of social media claims about the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict in Gaza.

In its weekly bulletin against disinformation released Monday, the directorate refuted the claim made by Israel that a “Hamas headquarters is located beneath Al-Shifa Hospital” as propaganda designed to manipulate international public opinion.

“Truth is Israel has expanded its attacks beyond civilian settlements in Gaza to include hospitals, which are operating under extreme conditions to treat the wounded,” the directorate said.

Referring to a post by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 27 showing the so-called Hamas headquarters under the hospital, the directorate said the video was digitally produced and that Israel hasn’t presented any substantiating arguments to Netanyahu’s claim.

According to Dr. Mads Gilbet, a Norwegian doctor with 16 years of experience at Al-Shifa Hospital, the claims that “a headquarters is located beneath the hospital” are entirely baseless, the bulletin read.

“The Israeli military claimed this numerous times and on Nov. 14 conducted an operation against Al-Shifa Hospital,” it added.

“In the past month, no evidence has been presented regarding Israel’s, particularly Netanyahu’s, claim. It has been determined that some of the images shared to back the claim include elevator shafts and other septic tanks.”

The bulletin also refuted the Israeli army’s claim that it discovered a “Hamas list” taped onto a wall in the basement of Al-Shifa, saying, the papers in the images were in fact calendars.

The Israeli army released additional footage of a bunker-like area on Nov. 22, claiming it as the alleged Hamas headquarters. The images fail to match the depictions of “multi-story buildings” Netanyahu’s earlier post made, the bulletin said.

“The images clearly demonstrate that there is no command center or an ammunition depot there, as Israel has insisted for weeks,” it noted.

An Israeli soldier recently claimed the exit of the tunnels was “sealed because (Hamas) anticipated our arrival a month ago.”

Until very recently, however, Israel justified its bombing of the hospital by maintaining that a functioning command center was underneath Al-Shifa Hospital. The Israeli press has alleged in countless articles in the last couple of years that a bunker was built under Al-Shifa in 1983 when Gaza was still under Israeli control.

However, the lack of evidence to support Israel’s claims has been acknowledged by numerous international news organizations, including CNN and BBC.

‘Ambushed’ reporter

The bulletin further rebutted a Fox News claim that one of its reporters was “caught in an attempted ambush while visiting the scene of the music festival massacre.”

“This is fiction because the entire thing was staged by the Israeli army,” the directorate said, pointing to the very footage presented on Fox News.

In the said footage, following sounds of gunshots, a “Hamas member” who allegedly set up an ambush in the festival area is detained, stripped and blindfolded. The rest of the uncut video, however, reveals that it’s an Israeli soldier dressing up as a Hamas soldier in the background.

The so-called ambush moment was disseminated by numerous international media outlets.

Shooting civilians

The directorate also dispersed popular footage shared by Israeli propaganda accounts to claim that “Hamas opened fire on Gazan civilians trying to flee south.”

The video in question was recorded by Motaz Azaiza, a content producer for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and posted on Nov. 19 with the caption, “How it looks from the safe passing that Israel claims about. They opened fire at people,” the bulletin explained.

Azaiza himself responded to the accounts misrepresenting his video, saying, “I was the one who recorded this, and the Israeli occupation forces were shooting at people to scare them and make them flee faster.”

The directorate further refuted similar claims that Hamas “killed 160 Palestinian children during the construction of the tunnels in Gaza.”

“The news article cited as the basis for the allegations was published in 2014 on the website of Tablet magazine,” the directorate informed.

In 2014, 2,310 people lost their lives in Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

“The Israeli propaganda magazine Tablet also tried to manipulate the global public opinion reacting to the civilian deaths in Gaza with the news ‘Hamas is killing children,’” the bulletin said.

In 2014, as it does today, Israel made many baseless claims to justify the massacre of civilians, it added.

Journalists killed

Regarding a video shared by Israeli propaganda accounts on social media of “two Palestinian journalists killed by Israel,” the directorate said the people in question were Syrian journalists Jamil al-Hasan and Muhammaed al-Faisal working in northern Syria.

The video of rockets firing, which sparked outrage worldwide, is shared by Israeli accounts to justify the killing of journalists but it has no connection with Gaza, the directorate stressed.

“The Palestinian journalists killed in Israel’s bomb attack on the Bureij Refugee Camp in the center of the Gaza Strip on November 18 are Sari Mansour and Hassouna Salim,” it said.

Over 60 journalists have lost their lives in Israeli attacks in Gaza since Oct. 7.

The directorate also dismissed the claim in a video circulated on X that a Palestinian boy living in Canada made a “chilling threat to Jewish people” during a rally.

“After examining the images in question, it has been determined that the slogans shouted during the pro-Palestinian protests were neither anti-Semitic nor threatening the Jews, the directorate said. “The child in the image was shouting, ‘Long live the Resistance! There is only one solution. Intifada (uprising – resistance), revolution!’”

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