Hamas has denied Israeli claims about the surrender of its fighters in the northern Gaza Strip.
Arab investigative unit Eekad has debunked Israeli media’s account of Hamas members who surrendered to the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, reporting that the individuals held were civilians.
The initial Israeli reports emerged on December 9 with a video circulating by Israeli media outlets showing an elderly half-naked man handing a weapon to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), surrounded by a group of men stripped to their underwear.
Framed as a win for the IDF, several other Israeli media reports showed dozens of men, some bound and blindfolded, in several public locations in the Gaza Strip.
In response to the spreading media, Eekad’s investigative team launched a thorough breakdown of the so-called surrender.
The Arab media group found that the arrest of one group by the IDF was made at Khalifa Bin Zayed School in Beit Lahia, a city in the Gaza Strip.
“Notably, this school was previously associated with a concerning incident where civilians were stripped and intentionally misidentified as Hamas members by the IDF,” Eekad’s report stated on X.
“Concerns intensified around the possibility that the detainees were actually civilians taken from the school by the IDF and coerced into participating in a staged scene under duress,” Eekad further stated in their breakdown.
Furthermore, Eekad uncovered two separate clips recording the elderly half-naked man handing a weapon to the IDF on two occasions, leading to questions on why the individual would surrender his weapon twice.
“One clip showed a single weapon on the ground before being surrendered, while the other displayed two weapons, suggesting the man might have been coerced to repeat the process multiple times,” Eekad wrote.
“We also noticed the appearance of an individual in one of the clips and their disappearance in the other, leaving no room for doubt that the recording process occurred multiple times,” Eekad added.
Eekad also highlighted the deletion of the circulating videos on social media by Israeli journalist Barak Ravid.
The political reporter originally posted the surrender videos but ultimately deleted them.
“This deletion, coming on the heels of the discovery of inconsistencies between the videos, heavily implies that the scenes were orchestrated and not spontaneous occurrences,” Eekad wrote about Ravid’s deletion.
In a statement to Doha News, the head of Eekad’s investigative team called the motion by the Israeli government another aim of misinformation.
“Israeli government is trying to achieve three mains goals from such staged scenes. They want any apparent achievement to avoid scrutiny from Israeli public, picture civilians as terrorists to the world, and force Palestinian families to flee to the South,” Eekad told Doha News over email.
“Our investigation reveals a new war crime that’s being committed on a daily basis by the Israeli army, in which civilians sheltering inside schools and UNRWA buildings in the north are being subjected to humiliation, danger, and violence,” Eekad further added.
The Arab media group stated that several outlets have picked up the tales of Israelis’ misinformation campaign, which advocates hostility towards Palestinians and support for Israelis amid the war.
“Although flaws have endlessly been recognized in the Israeli misinformation campaign since October 7, it is partially succeeding, with the backing of many global media outlets, in stirring hate towards Palestinians,” Eekad told Doha News.
“We have been monitoring military advancements inside the Gaza Strip, and it is evident that Israel is still facing a lot of difficulties in hitting the infrastructure of the Palestinian factions or targeting their main military leaders. On the other hand, Palestinian militants have been able to document Israel’s heavy losses of arms and soldiers. This is prompting Israel to stage scenes of fake military successes,” the statement added.
On Sunday, Hamas denied Israeli claims about the surrender of its fighters in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, stating, “Hamas heroes don’t surrender, and the (Israeli) occupation lies will not deceive anyone.”