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Israeli leaders slam PA claims that IDF killed attendees of Re’im party, not Hamas

After pressure from US, PA later deletes claim without clarification

An aerial view shows abandoned cars of festival-goers at the site of an attack on the Nova Festival by Hamas gunmen from Gaza, near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Oct. 12, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg)

Israeli leaders, including both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Yair Lapid, slammed a statement by the Palestinian Authority on Sunday, which claimed that Israel was responsible for the deaths of at least 364 people at the rave party at Kibbutz Re'im on Oct. 7.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Ministry published a statement that was sent to diplomats and the United Nations, claiming that Israeli helicopters mowed down hundreds of partygoers as part of the now-defunct “Hannibal Directive.”

The directive allegedly allowed Israel Defense Forces to kill its own Israeli soldiers in extreme circumstances to prevent them from being taken captive.

The PA's statement was based on a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz last Saturday, quoting an anonymous police source who said, as part of the investigation, the police were looking into the possibility that some people were injured by helicopter fire.

The police later denied this report, but the PA made the following claim: “The result of this investigation casts doubt on the Israeli reports regarding the destruction and killing that took place in that area,” and blamed Israel for fabricating media material to justify the invasion of Gaza.

Partygoers flee from Hamas gunmen at a music festival near Kibbutz Re'im, Oct. 7, 2023. (Photo: Screenshot)

After massive pressure from the United States, the PA deleted the statement on Monday, without posting an apology or adding a clarification.

The controversy came just one day after U.S. President Joe Biden had recommended that a “revitalized” PA should rule the Gaza Strip after the war.

“Today, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah said something utterly preposterous,” Netanyahu charged. “It denied that it was Hamas that carried out the horrible massacre at the nature festival near Gaza… This is a complete reversal of truth.”

“[PA President] Abu Mazen, who in the past has denied the existence of the Holocaust, today is denying the existence of the Hamas massacre and that's unacceptable,” Netanyahu added.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid also slammed the PA's comments, which came just days after he, himself, had said that the PA ruling Gaza in the end would be “the best thing.”

Now, he called the PA’s statement “abominable and false,” adding that, “whoever denies the massacre, makes themselves complicit in the worst crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

Official Palestinian Authority document claiming Hamas did not carry out the massacre at the Nova music festival near Kibbutz Re'im

The Haaretz report that Israeli helicopters could have injured some partygoers has since been widely disseminated online among antisemitic and anti-Israeli social media accounts, many of them claiming this as proof that the Hamas massacre was an Israeli fabrication and a pretense for the war against Gaza.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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