Israel confronts malicious online campaign accusing troops of committing rape

Anonymous account set up soon after Hamas massacre claims woman raped by soldiers at Al Shifa, report echoed by Al Jazeera until removed when proven demonstratively false

An anonymous social media post originating in Gaza on Monday, accused Israeli soldiers operating in the Al Shifa hospital of raping a woman there. the account which has 122,000 followers garnered over half a million likes over a short span of time.
2 View gallery
פעילות כוחות צה"ל ברצועה
פעילות כוחות צה"ל ברצועה
IDF troops during an operation at the Gaza Al Shifa hospital
(Photo: IDF)
"They ordered her to undress and started to beat her. She told the army, 'I am in my fifth month of pregnancy. Don't hit me.' They continued to beat her. After hours, they took all the women out except for the pregnant woman and her children. They took her in front of her husband and children, raped her, and ordered the men not to close their eyes - otherwise, they would shoot them," the post in Arabic read.
An investigation by the Foreign Ministry revealed that the account was fictitious, had no profie or identifiable details and was created on October 2023.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded on X, posting: "Look surprised, the Palestinians fabricate stories of rape to incite anti-Semitism. @antonioguterres I'm sure that's sad for you to hear, but that's the reality."
"Social networks have become a strategic threat to Israel, David Saranga, Head of the Digital Division at in the ministry said. "The combination of the industry of lies and social networks has long become a strategic threat to Western democracies."
Saranga added that there is no effective way for democracy to respond. "Even if thousands report the tweet as offensive, and at the end of the day it is removed from the platform, the damage has already been done and millions have already been exposed to the lie."
The Qatari owned Al-Jazeera network echoed the accusation of rape. They reported that a Gaza resident named Jamila Al-Hisi claimed that Israeli forces raped, kidnapped, and killed women during their ongoing raid on the largest hospital in Gaza. but following reports that the rape allegations were fabricated, Al-Jazeera removed the items dealing with the subject. Hamas has yet to comment.
Following the October 7 massacre, social media has seen a surge in denials of Hamas' atrocities and increasing allegations that sexual crimes were being committed by IDF troops. This appears to be a calculated campaign by Palestinians to counter the damage done to Hamas' reputation due to accusations of sexual violence against Israeli women, and to balance the narrative by making false claims.
International organizations are also attempting to juxtapose the crimes of Hamas and the actions of the IDF in their published reports. In the report written by Pramila Patten, the UN Secretary-General's envoy on sexual violence in conflicts, which addresses rape allegations against Hamas, Patten dedicated a number of sections to accusations of sexual crimes committed against Palestinians in the West Bank, although she noted that those had not been validated.
2 View gallery
פרמילה פאטן,  שליחת האו"ם לאלימות מינית, בביקור בנחל עוז
פרמילה פאטן,  שליחת האו"ם לאלימות מינית, בביקור בנחל עוז
UN envoy Pramila Patten during her visit to learn of Hamas rapes and other sexual crimes during the October 7 massacres
(Photo: Foreign Ministry )
The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva published a statement on February 19 also claiming Palestinians were victims of sexual crimes. "We are particularly disturbed by reports that Palestinian women and girls in detention have also suffered multiple forms of sexual assault, such as strip searches by Israeli military officers," the council said. "According to the reports, at least two Palestinian detainees were raped while others were threatened with rape and sexual violence." The statement also drew attention to the fact that photos of detainees in humiliating circumstances were taken by the Israeli army and made public online.
Responding to these reports, Mirav Eilon Shahar, Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva, said the accusations presented by the UN were "baseless and absurd."
According to Shahar "two of the report's authors have a history of denying sexual violence committed against Israelis on October 7. There is nothing more disgraceful than turning a blind eye to rape, sexual assault, murder, and kidnapping of women and girls, especially when they are used as a weapon of war. The report's authors are driven by hatred rather than facts."

<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>

First published: 13:52, 03.25.24
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.