Hamas falsely claimed hundreds of civilians were killed at a Gaza hospital by an Israeli airstrike
By Joseph A. Wulfsohn
President Biden rejected a question posed by PBS correspondent Laura Barrón-López about the Palestinian death count provided by the terrorist group Hamas, saying he has “no confidence” such numbers are truthful.
During a joint press conference Wednesday alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Barrón-López attempted to press Biden on whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was keeping his word of limiting civilian casualties in Israel’s response to the horrific Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas.
“In the 18 days since Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis, the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed over 6,000 Palestinians, including 2,700 children,” Barrón-López said. “You’ve previously asked Netanyahu to minimize civilian casualties. Do these numbers say to you that he’s ignoring that message?”
“What they say to me is I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden responded.
Biden continued, “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war. I think we should be incredibly careful… Israel should be incredibly careful to be sure that they’re focusing on going after the folks that are the propagating this war against Israel. And it’s against their interest when that doesn’t happen. But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”
Last week, several news organizations rushed to report claims made by the Gaza Health Ministry that Israel bombed Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital through an airstrike resulting in over 500 civilian casualties.
Subsequent reporting and intelligence found it was an explosion in the hospital’s parking lot stemming from a misfired rocket fired by Hamas ally Islamic Jihad, resulting in a death toll a fraction of what Hamas had first alleged.
The fake news prompted several Arab leaders to cancel meetings with Biden ahead of his planned trip to the region. The misreporting also led to protests and riots outside U.S. embassies across the Middle East.
Despite being debunked by both U.S. and Israeli intelligence, some continue to promote the Hamas narrative including Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.