Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has furiously denounced claims from the Palestinian Authority regarding the October 7th attacks carried out by Hamas on Israel.
On Sunday, the PA denied that Hamas terrorists were responsible for the deaths of approximately 350 people at the Nova music festival, laying the blame on “Israeli helicopters”.
According to a statement from the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was distributed to the United Nations and foreign ministries worldwide, “the preliminary investigation by the Israeli police proved that on October 7 Israeli helicopters bombed Israeli citizens who participated in the nature festival”.
“The result of this investigation casts doubt on the Israeli reports regarding the destruction and killing that took place in that area,” the statement continued.
The PA based its assertions on an October 18 report, which referred to an investigation of the massacre and cited an unnamed Israeli police official saying that the investigation found that an IDF combat helicopter arrived at the scene and fired at the terrorists.
According to the Israeli press, the PA also claimed that Israel had “fabricated” media material to justify its offensive against Hamas.
The Israel Police clarified the report on Sunday after being thrust into the middle of ongoing tensions between the two countries.
“Contrary to the publication, the police investigation does not refer to the activity of the IDF forces, and therefore no indication was given of any harm to civilians caused by any aerial activity at the site,” a statement by the Israel Police Spokesperson’s Office read.
“Particularly at this time, we call on the media to show responsibility in their reporting, and to base their journalism on official sources only.”
Speaking on Sunday, Mr Netanyahu branded the accusations as “utterly preposterous” and a “complete reversal of truth”.
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid joined the condemnation of Palestine’s government, labelling the statement “abominable and false”.
“Today, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah said something utterly preposterous. It denied that it was Hamas that carried out the horrible massacre at the nature festival near Gaza. It actually accused Israel of carrying out that massacre. This is a complete reversal of truth,” Mr Netanyahu said.
Mr Netanyahu also made reference to a recent controversy involving Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who claimed Jews in the Holocaust were killed because of their “social role” and not their religion.
The televised comments sparked a tidal wave of backlash, with dozens of leading Palestinian intellectuals publishing an open letter condemning Mr Abbas’ “antisemitic” remarks.
Mr Netanyahu later seized the opportunity to direct the matter towards Israel’s plan for the region following the IDF’s campaign to eradicate Hamas.
“My goal is that the day after we destroy Hamas, any future civil administration in Gaza does not deny the massacre, does not educate its children to become terrorists, does not pay for terrorists and does not tell its children that their ultimate goal in life is to see the destruction and dissolution of the State of Israel,” Mr Netanyahu continued.
It came after French President Emmanuel Macron told Mr Netanyahu there were “too many civilian losses” in the current war against Hamas in Gaza.
The retaliatory Israeli air and ground campaign has killed 13,000 people in Gaza, mainly civilians and including thousands of children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.
Macron, whose country is a firm ally of Israel, reminded Netanyahu of the “absolute necessity to distinguish terrorists from the population” and “the importance of achieving an immediate humanitarian truce leading to a ceasefire”.
Mr Macron also condemned violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank in a conversation with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, the French presidency said.
The French leader told Mr Netanyahu about his “great concern over the escalation in violence against Palestinian civilians” in the West Bank and called for calm.
Mr Macron also told Abbas of “the need for the Palestinian Authority and all countries in the region to unequivocally and with the greatest firmness condemn the terrorist attack carried out by Hamas in Israel on October 7”.
Israeli troops and settlers have killed more than 200 Palestinians in the West Bank since the war began, according to the health ministry in Ramallah.