The following statement was issued by Hamas political bureau member Dr. Bassem Naim on Dec. 31, 2023, and was published on Resistance News Network:
In response to the misleading report by The New York Times regarding the behavior of Palestinian fighters on October 7:
We regret to say that most of the mainstream Western media and press agencies have moved from the idea of bias towards Zionist propaganda to complicity in spreading lies and slander against the Palestinians and their resistance.
The latest of these misleading reports was published by The Times about allegations of rape and sexual violence by Palestinian fighters during the blessed Al-Aqsa Flood operation on Oct. 7, under the title “‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Used Sexual Violence as a Weapon on October 7,” by Jeffrey Gettleman and others.
As we have previously declared, we categorically deny these allegations and consider them part of the Zionist attempt to demonize the resistance and justify the war crimes and crimes of genocide committed by the Zionist enemy against our Palestinian people everywhere.
The author relied solely on statements from Zionist government officials who only speak in the context of official Zionist propaganda and what serves the demonization of the Palestinian people.
He also conveyed claims from women who said they heard other women repeating these allegations, none of which indicates any evidence of our people committing these shameful acts.
The allegations of The Times contradict the testimonies given by many “Israeli” women, who spoke about the good treatment they received from Palestinian fighters on Oct. 7. Anyone professional and objective can easily access these testimonies on social media platforms. These women spoke to “Israeli” media without mentioning any of the claims made by The Times.
In addition, testimonies of all women who were detained in the Gaza Strip and later released mentioned only the good treatment they received from their captors, affirming the fighters’ commitment to protecting them and providing whatever they could to alleviate the difficult circumstances they experienced and spoke of the high humanitarian values they observed in the fighters throughout the time.
Our fighters are freedom fighters and dignified and cannot commit such shameful acts. Our Islamic religion, national values and societal culture do not accept such disgraceful acts. According to the statistics approved by the Supreme Judicial Council in Gaza, not a single case of rape has been registered before the courts.
On Oct. 7, our Palestinian fighters had one main mission: to defend our people against an unjust occupation and break the suffocating siege on our people in Gaza, represented by the Gaza Division of the Zionist army. This is what they successfully accomplished with manhood and honor.
The Al-Aqsa Flood operation did not last more than a few hours, after which most of the fighters withdrew from the “Israeli” military sites and returned to Gaza to continue their mission of defending their people against the fascist Zionist aggression.
We have repeatedly expressed our readiness to welcome international investigative committees into any incident, and the entity should declare its readiness to welcome these committees or go to international and U.N. courts if it bases its narrative on any factual evidence.
It should be noted that The Times deliberately ignored that all the crimes committed on the night and day of Oct. 7, which it claimed were by the fighters, were later proven by Zionist media to be committed by Zionist forces deliberately.
The report, in its complicity with Zionist propaganda, also overlooked the live testimonies of Palestinian female prisoners who were abducted from Gaza and the West Bank after the aggression, confirming their exposure to verbal and physical sexual harassment by Zionist soldiers, who receive advice and guidance from the Chief Rabbi of the Zionist army and other rabbis, who publicly call for the rape of Palestinian women in Gaza and have written this in Zionist newspapers.
In conclusion: We demand the newspaper apologize for this professional error, immediately delete the article, stop adopting Zionist propaganda and lies, to maintain its professionalism and reputation as a prestigious and respected international newspaper.
The statement was lightly edited.