Just days after the esteemed medical journal BMJ published an article accusing Israel of an alleged airstrike on Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza, the Israeli response has arrived. A group of prominent Israeli researchers, led by Professor Ronny Geva, a brain researcher and psychologist, and Professor Alon Korngreen, head of the Brain Center at Bar-Ilan University, alongside other scholars such as Professor Hagai Levine, have issued a robust rebuttal to the article, calling out BMJ for spreading "fake news" and demanding a public apology.
These Israeli researchers systematically debunked each false allegation presented in the article with clear and compelling arguments.
The authors of the original article highlighted events in Gaza that occurred between October 7 and October 15, reporting the deaths of Palestinian health care workers. However, they conspicuously omitted Hamas' terror attack on Israeli civilians in the same timeframe.
The authors claimed that "on the evening of 17 October a missile strike at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City killed at least 471 people. The hospital was operational and treating patients at the time, while internally displaced people had sought shelter close to the facility. The Al-Ahli Hospital missile strike represents one of the most horrific incidents at a health care facility in our collective history."
"While the origin of the missile strike remains to be determined, its impact is of a magnitude greater than the heinous US military bombing of the Kunduz Trauma Center in Afghanistan in 2015, which killed 42 patients, caretakers, and MSF staff," it added.
The Israeli researchers pulled the rug out from under each of the claims made by the authors of the original article:
1. "Over 3000 Palestinians crossed the border to Israel, butchered more than 1,400 people, including babies, children and elderly in their beds, raped young teenagers dancing at an outdoor party, and burned villages and whole communities. Thousands of armed Palestinians took part in this crime against humanity. Thousands of people from families living in Gaza volunteered and committed these horrid crimes. These are deeds that should not be condoned or justified by any medical provider – or any human being, for that matter."
2. "Among those people butchered were many health care providers, peace activists and Israeli volunteers who worked with civilians living in Gaza and helped them receive the best medical care across the border. These good, loving people sought to live peacefully just like the authors in London, Melbourne, Sydney and Boston."
3. "On that very date, Hamas kidnapped over 220 people from Israel to Gaza. Hamas showed off the abducted babies, children and elderly, including Holocaust survivors, parading citizens as trophies -traumatized, abused and beaten."
4. "Hamas has been keeping them in captivity for 19 days (as of the day of writing the article; and counting) without letting the Red Cross visit them or informing their families whether they are alive, wounded or in need of medical aid. These are acts that cannot be accepted as justified by any medical provider."
Publishing fake news. The authors point to the "brutal attack on Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City" and state that it was conducted by the Israeli military even though Israel provided solid proof that it resulted from a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket. Major news media, including the New York Times and the BBC, have since apologized for publishing this fake report without checking. The Times, admitting it "should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be 'verified'."
The Israeli researchers also added that "the authors ignore the UN partition resolution concerning Israel's right to exist, and speak of 'Zionist expansionism' relying on 'colonial roots theory'. Moreover, they 'forget' to note that Israel withdrew from Gaza 18 years ago. Eighteen years of misery and destruction have affected many Palestinians, but the reality is more complex than presented in the paper."