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Palestinians and self-proclaimed "Palestinian supporters" routinely engage in conspiracy theories about Israel or downplaying/denying the actions by terrorist groups like Hamas (e.g., the fact that Hamas deliberately killed Israeli civilians or massive sexual violence on October 7):

Is there similar proliferation of conspiracy theories / denial on the other side? E.g., have any prominent Israeli or pro-Israeli figures claimed that the numbers of Gazans killed are wildly exaggerated, because the only source of the available figures is the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry?

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    Your question kind of puts an equal between denial and conspiracy theory, which are not quite the same. You should stick to one or the other.
    – user42328
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:21
  • That kind of asks how conspiration theories can be distinguished from simple denials? Like is it already a conspiration theory if one says that the numbers being published may be wrong. Commented Feb 9 at 16:31
  • @NoDataDumpNoContribution the difference between saying that evidence does not exist, and claiming that the evidence is fabricated
    – Morisco
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:43
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    But what if the evidence is contested? Where does reasonable doubt end and conspiration start? If Hamas says three hundred killed they don't literally mean 299 and one more and give names and photoshoots from multiple angles from everyone and one could say there is maybe only evidence for 30 and the rest is simply extrapolation. There will always be some uncertainty in any of these estimations. The true number could even be higher. Commented Feb 9 at 17:20
  • I have suggested an edit to remove the entire first paragraph which made this a push question. Commented Feb 9 at 18:41

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There are many pro-Israel "Pallywood" conspiracy theories. Israel's supporters often allege that Palestinains conspire to produce staged footage of their suffering to evoke Western sympathy. One example is the Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post which claimed that a Palestinian baby Israel killed was actually a doll:

Al Jazeera posts blurred doll, claims it to be a dead Palestinian baby

Al Jazeera has published on X footage of an emotional man holding a ‘baby’ with a blurred face wrapped in white. [...] The footage shared on Al Jazeera's X account claimed that the doll was a "month-and-a-half-old baby" killed by an Israeli bomb. [...] While this footage could not be located on Al Jazeera’s Arabic website, other footage was found with adults crying over the death of dolls.

enter image description here

A month earlier Israel's official Twitter account had claimed that a dead baby was actually a doll:

test

The Jerusalem Post eventually retracted their story and apologized for their allegations, but at that point "the doll story" had already spread far and wide. The example demonstrates how the conspiracy theorists believe that foreign media is "in on it"; Al-Jazeera is portrayed as knowing that the baby is a doll. Al-Jazeera was banned from operating in Israel a few months later.

Another example is Saleh Al-Jafarawi who was accused of being a "crisis actor" working for Hamas. In one story a photo of him was put next to a photo of a man in a hospital bed, alleging that he was faking injuries:

enter image description here

However, the man in the hospital bed is Mohammed Zendiq who lost his leg after Israeli soldiers attacked a refugee camp in July 2023. A third example the behind-the-scenes footage of a Lebanese film which showed child actors receiving makeup. The Israeli prime ministers spokesperson Ofir Gendelman claimed that it showed Palestinians preparing to fake injuries:

"See for yourselves how they fake injuries and evacuating 'injured' civilians, all in front of the cameras. Pallywood gets busted again," Mr Gendelman said in a post that was viewed millions of times before being deleted.

Another conspiracy theory accuses the Gazan Health Ministry of manipulating the death toll to increase sympathy for Gaza. Even the White House alleged that the Ministry exaggerated the death toll. However, according to both UN experts and an article published in The Lancet, the reported death tolls may actually be underestimates since people could be trapped under rubble.

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    The photo of Al-Jafarawi is a legit complaint though. I think he is a tik-toker or something, not a (confirmed) Hamas hite. But he did post many different staged-crisis photos of himself, just not as many as are attributed to him. Referring to Hamas Health ministry is inherently unreliable regardless of what anyone may claim because Hamas is a terrorist organization. That's not a conspiracy theory. That's definitional and true of any terrorist organization. Commented Feb 11 at 0:46
  • While I haven't seen any evidence of staged "Pallywood" material from Al-Jafarawi, and I doubt any exists, it is immaterial as a conspiracy theory doesn't have to be false. All that is required is a limited group of people executing a clandestine plot together. Whether statistics from Gaza is reliable is a different question as to whether statistics have been obfuscated. The latter requires a conspiracy, hence the accusation is a conspiracy theory. Commented Feb 11 at 2:22
  • here's one from a BBC fact checker. He posts 9 images. He "debunks" the claim that they are all Al-Jafarawi because only 7 of the 9 are. Commented Feb 11 at 2:35
  • It's difficult to tell if the seven other photos are of Al-Jafarawi because they are low-resolution and you get swayed by the claim that they are all of the same person. If they are they indicate that Al-Jafarawi likes to take photos of himself. They do not lend credence to the "Pallywood" theory. Commented Feb 11 at 8:55
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    TBH, "Pallywood" is more like a stereotyping meme than a conspiracy theory. It's just a label that gets attached to various incidents or propaganda. Official Israeli sources tend not to use the word even when they make such claims, even giving Hamas the benefit of the doubt as "accidentally" posting such stuff, but their right-wing blogosphere surely uses the "Pallywood" term a fair bit. Commented Feb 13 at 6:25
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I can name one. Just after October 7, some Ukrainian/pro-Ukrainian sources had this conspiracy theory that Russia was behind Hamas attack.

I believe that would qualify as pro-Israel conspiracy theory as it will partially justify the harsh response in Gaza.

It seems that the topic is largely abandoned by 2024, but this narrative got some amount of push immediately after the October attack.

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  • I wouldn't classify this as a conspiracy theory. Iran, an ally of Russia, and Russia itself have been supportive of Hamas in various ways.
    – user42328
    Commented Feb 9 at 21:13
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    When you accuse a country of an indirect terrorist attack but fail to back down up accusation with facts, it is definitely a conspiracy theory.
    – alamar
    Commented Feb 9 at 22:19
  • The reason everyone jumped to that conclusion is that it played very well in Russia's favor (all attention has been diverted from Ukraine, there's now extra pressure on the US to help both Ukraine and Israel and also defend its bases in the middle east), so that theory isn't entirely without facts, although circumstantial. I'd classify this as undetermined until all the secret reports will be declassified.
    – user42328
    Commented Feb 9 at 22:37
  • There's also one that Ukraine armed Hamas. Either of these are far fetched as being anti-something-else-than-the-country-accused-of-providing-the-weapons. Commented Feb 10 at 6:41
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    re: "When you accuse a country of an indirect terrorist attack but fail to back down up accusation with facts, it is definitely a conspiracy theory." Wait, are you saying with certainty that it wasn't? Because strictly speaking if you look at "cui bono," Russia was the main beneficiary. It didn't help that all the Russian propaganda channels celebrated it. They were trained with Russian equipment and were coordinating at a level higher than anyone could have trained them to in Gaza. There was foreign influence. China is the only other suspect, but China didn't benefit from it.
    – wrod
    Commented Feb 10 at 22:43
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On October 17th, 2023, there was an explosion in the parking lot of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. News agencies, based on statements from Hamas and the Gaza Health Ministry, initially reported that it was from an Israeli air strike and that there were at least 500 deaths. (Although the 500 number may have come via misquoting Al Jazeera which reported casualties rather than deaths). The Health Ministry later updated their figures to 342 injured and 471 killed.

The view among Israeli and Western intelligence agencies and many (but not all) analyses by Western newspapers and OSINT groups is that:

  1. The explosion was caused by a defective rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
  2. The actual number of deaths was lower (US intelligence estimates are in the 100–300 range and some estimates are closer to 50)

Regardless of what caused the explosion, the death toll has not been independently verified.

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    What is anti-Palestinian in this case?
    – dEmigOd
    Commented Feb 11 at 5:10
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    That would be an example of the Gaza Health Ministry giving inflated numbers, as question mentioned. Commented Feb 11 at 14:59
  • @dEmigOd Claiming that a side in conflict has (inadvetenly or purposedly) bombed their own civilians is a prime example of taking sides, whether supported by the evidence later or not.
    – alamar
    Commented Feb 12 at 9:52

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