This incident involves some deadly disinformation from the Hamas terrorist organization. Fortunately the truth survived, though people will still believe whatever they want.
On September 23, 2005 Hamas staged a rally in the densely populated Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza. Weapons were displayed in celebration over Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. During the rally an explosion erupted, killing 21 people, including two children, and wounding many others.
Hamas blamed the deaths on Israeli helicopters that it claimed had fired into the crowd. Hamas then used this "information" to justify firing 40 Qassam rockets at the town of Sderot in southern Israel, causing several injuries.
However, eyewitnesses said that the explosion came from a truck carrying Qassam rockets. Israel has denied any involvement in the Palestinian civilian casualties.
The Palestinian Authority's own forensic report exonerated Israel. It found that the blast was caused by members of Hamas mishandling explosives.
Aside from its hatred of Israel, why did Hamas lie? The Palestinian people had protested against the Hamas practice of displaying weapons at public gatherings, fearing the obvious danger. Hamas agreed to stop this practice, and the Jabalya rally was supposed to have been the last event featuring such a display. When the tragic accident occurred, Hamas felt under pressure to shift the blame to Israel lest it turn even more of the populace against itself. Were it not for the growing animosity between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and the PA's interest in discrediting Hamas, the truth might never have emerged.
Hamas has never had qualms about using the Palestinian people as human shields. It has not only displayed but fired weapons from populated areas, putting Palestinian civilians in harm's way.
Abu Tomeh, Khaled. "Analysis: Jabalya Blast Raises PA-Hamas Tension." Jerusalem Post, September 24, 2005.
Associated Press. "PA: Shrapnel in Jabalya Blast from Hamas Rockets." Jerusalem Post, September 27, 2005.
Dadon, Tova. "Three Hurt in Rocket Barrage on South." Ynetnews.com, September 24, 2005.
Waked, Ali. "Gaza: Blast During Hamas Rally Kills 19." Ynetnews.com, September 23, 2005.
Return to Palestinian Disinformation Campaign
Peace with Realism