Israel keeps changing storyline on Rafah massacre as global fury mounts

Palestinians say Israeli aircraft dropped seven 900kg (2,000-pound) bombs on tents of displaced Palestinians near United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees warehouses of Rafah, Gaza, on May 26, 2024. (Photo/AA)

Israel continues to alter its account of the Rafah massacre with inconsistent narratives amid escalating global outrage over Tel Aviv's bombing of displaced Palestinian tents on May 26, that left at least 45 people dead and wounded 250 others.

The pictures and videos of dismembered and charred bodies, some of them belonging to babies and minors, have raised an international outcry as tens of thousands of people took to streets in global cities to protest.

Asked to investigate itself by its allies US and Germany, Israel has presented various interpretations of its carnage.

The Israeli occupation forces initially claimed to have conducted "precision strikes" using "precision munitions" based on "accurate intelligence" to target two Hamas members in the area, where displaced Palestinians were seeking refuge.

"The attack was carried out in the Tal al Sultan area in the northwest of Rafah and based on accurate intelligence," Israeli military claimed.

After it turned out that the Israeli bombs burned Palestinian civilians alive and slashed many children into pieces, sparking global outrage, hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began to twist the Israeli version of the story, saying the bombing was a "tragic mistake."

"Despite our best efforts not to harm those not involved, unfortunately, a tragic error happened last night. We are investigating the case," he stated.

Israel's top military prosecutor, Major General Yifat Tomer, subsequently described the attack on Palestinian civilians as "very grave," adding that the "details of the incident are still under investigation."

On the third day of the massacre, Israel's new narrative emerged. This version sought to shift blame onto Palestinians for their own deaths at the location that Israel had designated as a "humanitarian area."

Tel Aviv now claims the civilian casualties in makeshift shelters resulted from secondary explosion caused by its strike on Hamas operatives.

Israel's army spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, said: "[We used] the smallest munition we can put on our planes. Our munition alone would not have ignited a fire of this size. Something else ignited the fire."

'We pulled out children who were in pieces'

Palestinian authorities have stood by their account. They say Israel dropped seven bombs, as well as missiles, on the displacement camp, days after the UN's top court, the International Court of Justice, ordered Netanyahu's regime to halt its attacks on Gaza.

Witnesses told TRT World and other media outlets that when the US-made bombs exploded in the congested tent city, it was inevitable for the plastic canopies to escape fire, which spread quickly, burning alive many trapped Palestinians.

Emergency doctors on the ground also described the carnage — in which babies sleeping in their beds were torn apart, with mangled torsos left in their wake — as one of the most horrific massacres witnessed in Gaza.

Mohammed Abuassa, who rushed to the scene, said rescuers "pulled out people who were in an unbearable state."

"We pulled out children who were in pieces. We pulled out young and elderly people. The fire in the camp was unreal," he said.

Gaza officials said the victims included at least 12 women, eight children and three older adults, with another three bodies burned beyond recognition.

Boeing-made bombs used to kill Palestinians?

Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians — 72 percent of them babies, children, and women — and wounded over 81,000 in its 235-day war on Gaza. Around 10,000 people are feared buried under the debris of bombed buildings.

Rafah, the southernmost Gaza city on the border with Egypt, had housed more than a million people — about half of Gaza's population — displaced from other parts of the territory.

Most have fled once again since Israel launched its invasion earlier this month. Hundreds of thousands are packed into squalid tent camps in and around the city.

While the Israeli military has pledged to investigate into its own actions, it has found little or no takers with many considering the attempts nothing but a brazen attempt to obscure the truth in the face of growing global outrage.

The munition in question appears to carry a lethal impact, as indicated by media reports.

Al Jazeera’s Sanad Verification Agency managed to obtain images of fragments believed to be from the weaponry used in the attack.

The photos show the tail of a GBU-39/B bomb, manufactured by Boeing. The GBU-39/B includes a jet engine from the M26 unguided missile, the agency said.

According to international laws of armed conflict, any military action posing a significant risk to civilian life must be heavily justified.

The Netanyahu regime's stance — that Rafah is Hamas' last remaining base of operations — appears to many as a pretext to continue the war in Gaza for political gains.

As the global outcry intensifies, pressure is mounting on Israel to provide a credible explanation of the Rafah massacre. So far Israel has put forth numerous accounts of its carnage — all in layers of ambiguity.


Source: TRT