Pope Calls Israel-Hamas War ‘Terrorism’

A bizarre statement by the head of the Roman Catholic church.

Reuters (“Pope says Israel-Hamas conflict has gone beyond war to ‘terrorism’“):

Pope Francis on Wednesday met separately with Israeli relatives of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinians with family in Gaza and said the conflict had gone beyond war to become “terrorism”.

Speaking in unscripted remarks at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square shortly after the meetings in his residence, Francis said he heard directly how “both sides are suffering” in the conflict.

“This is what wars do. But here we have gone beyond wars. This is not war. This is terrorism,” he said.

He asked for prayers so that both sides would “not go ahead with passions, which, in the end, kill everyone”.

Israel’s Ambassador to the Vatican Raphael Schutz said he did not want to refer directly to what the pope had said but added: “There is a simple distinction, one side is murdering, raping, and does not care about those on their own side. The other side is engaged in a war of self-defence.”

Schutz was speaking at a news conference with Israeli families who had met the pope. Most said they were not aware of the pope’s comments because they happened after the meeting.

Palestinian families were to hold a news conference later on Wednesday.

During the general audience, a group of Palestinians in the crowd held up pictures of bodies wrapped in white cloth and a placard saying “the Nakba continues”.

Nakba is the Arab word for catastrophe and refers to the displacement and dispossession of Palestinians in the 1948 war that surrounded Israel’s founding.

This is a bizarre statement from a leader of his influence and stature. Even more so considering the leading role Catholic theologians played in the creation of Just War theory, the wellspring for the laws of armed conflict. There’s simply no comparison between the actions of Hamas, which initiated this round of violence with horrific acts of terrorism and Israel, which has gone to great lengths to spare civilians among whom Hamas is sheltered.

One wonders if Francis, who turns 87 next month, simply misspoke here.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, National Security, Religion, Terrorism, World Politics, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    The head of the Roman Catholic church siding with people who kill Jews? This is surprising? This is the same organization that wasn’t quite sure whether Hitler was a bad guy, and continued to accept German financial support throughout the Holocaust. Next to Nazis, the RC are the biggest Jew-killers. Also: he’s Argentinian.

  2. gVOR10 says:

    I don’t find it “bizarre” that the Pope has a strong reaction against killing people.

  3. DK says:

    If Israel cared about sparing civilians, it would heed US calls to stop the extremist terrorism targeting Palestinian civilians in the West Bank or ethnic cleansing, which is not governed by Hamas and from which Israel was not attacked on Oct 7.

    There’s no special reason to believe a war cabinet led by Benjamin Netanyahu cares about civilians so much more than Hamas does.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The head of the Roman Catholic church siding with people who kill Jews?

    The head of the Israeli government deliberately boosted terrorists to undermine Israeli and Palestinian secularists and moderates who sought peaceful negotiation, telling his party in 2019 that Hamas needed to be “funded” and “bolstered” in order to prevent an Palestinian state.

    The corrupt, violent, far right thug Israelis chose to make their longest-serving prime minister sided with the people who kill Jews — which is beyond bizarrr. But we’ve heard crickets about that in the mainstream media and establishment commentary. Doesn’t fit the preferred narrative.

  4. Michael Reynolds says:


    Israel does not care about civilians so much more than Hamas does.

    Simply false. See Joyner’s post on Israel’s rules of engagement. See also the ratio of bombs dropped to casualties incurred. See also: orders for civilians to evacuate, not something Hamas does. Your mask of ‘objectivity’ has slipped. You are objectively pro-Hamas.

  5. Kazzy says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Where did the Pope side with Hamas/Gaza/the Palestinians? Oh yea… for you, anything but absolute support of Israel is tantamount to anti-Semitism. He criticized both sides equally. You can certainly disagree with that and disagree strongly, but claiming he sided with one side is objectively false.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    He criticized both sides equally. The side that attacked, and the side that was attacked. The side that targeted women and children, and the side that evacuated women and children. The side that burned children alive, and the side that just evacuated 26 premies.

    Cool. Even-handed.

  7. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: See what I said about Israel’s actions towards Palestinians in the West Bank, in circumvention of international law and the pleas of its allies.

    I didn’t argue for funding and bolstering Hamas. Israel’s prime minister did. You and Netanyahu are pro-Hamas.

    And you are a lying, genocidal racist who hates Palestinians and loves seeing them killed. You are full of hate and bile. And it has made you twisted and ugly. Sad!

  8. DK says:


    Where did the Pope side with Hamas/Gaza/the Palestinians?

    Michael Reynolds is a mean, tired bully — and a demonstrated liar. That’s why he says objectively false things. Repeatedly. Very Trump-like. He thinks (wrongly) he can bully everyone into acquiesing to his dishonesty.

    And we’re to believe his claims he was under attack on Twitter due to progressive identity politics. As much as I criticize the Bernie left, it still seems more likely that episode was was just karma from Reynolds being a mediocre, amoral person with a repellant personality.

  9. drj says:

    What the Pope is saying is that Israel’s actions have gone beyond legitimate self-defense.

    Considering that the heads of pretty much all UN humanitarian bodies have said that Israel’s current actions point to “a genocide in the making,” this is not a particularly strange remark:

    Grave violations committed by Israel against Palestinians in the aftermath of 7 October, particularly in Gaza, point to a genocide in the making, UN experts said today. They illustrated evidence of increasing genocidal incitement, overt intent to “destroy the Palestinian people under occupation”, loud calls for a ‘second Nakba’ in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, and the use of powerful weaponry with inherently indiscriminate impacts, resulting in a colossal death toll and destruction of life-sustaining infrastructure.

    “Many of us already raised the alarm about the risk of genocide in Gaza,” the experts said. “We are deeply disturbed by the failure of governments to heed our call and to achieve an immediate ceasefire. We are also profoundly concerned about the support of certain governments for Israel’s strategy of warfare against the besieged population of Gaza, and the failure of the international system to mobilise to prevent genocide,” they said.

    More at the link.

    What is strange is that people still buy into the myth of Israel’s “restraint.” We have all seen the scale of destruction in Gaza. We have also heard members of Israel’s government say that Gazans should be resettled in other parts of the world.

    Sure, Hamas is even worse than Israel. But we are not supporting them, are we?

  10. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Next to Nazis, the RC are the biggest Jew-killers. Also: he’s Argentinian.

    This is pretty lazy shit. Even by your standards.

  11. DK says:


    This is pretty lazy shit.

    Racists gonna racist.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    So, I’m ‘bullying’ you by disagreeing. Do you need a safe space? And now I’m a racist because. . . because you need a name to call me. And now I’m a Trumpie. But I’m the bully. Got it.

    The moral vacuity of progressives is on full display. Alert to every micro-aggression, but blind to anti-semitism. Alert to both-sidesism but incapable of seeing a distinction between those who deliberately target civilians and those who try to avoid civilian casualties.

    You’ve lost your way. The need to conform to the progressive line makes you as oblivious to reality as any MAGAt.

    I’m willing to bet that I was loudly opposing Bibi, Likud and the settlers before you figured out how to find the ME on a map.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    Also, um, ‘Argentinian’ is not a race, it’s a nationality. And Argentina is well-known for providing safe haven to Nazis after WW2, as well as a long history of oppression and military juntas, and has now elected an overt fascist.

  14. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Thought experiment: 2 tribes make a claim to the same watering hole. One fantastically powerful. One weak but able to inflict modest casualties on the other tribe. The weak tribe used to have sole use of the watering hole but never foresaw a future conflict for it and were displaced from it by the other tribe’s very powerful allies.

    Both tribes’ leaders have decided not to share the watering hole and fight for it. Winner take all. Of course, the weak tribe can never defeat the strong one, nor build the capacity to do so at anytime in the future. The strong tribe values their membership in the Strongest of the Strong tribal community and thereby may never vanquish the weak tribe. Both tribes pursue a course of collective punishment on the other’s civilian community to force attrition of some sort by the other.

    Knowing they are weak and that the strong tribe (along with their stronger sponsors) are sensitive to civilian deaths— the weak tribe deliberately distributes their military command and logistics operations in locations that maximize the deaths of their civilian tribesman. This is done to moderate the military responses of the strong tribe as round after round of retaliation is conducted. Of course, the Strong tribes is equally as shady, allowing its citizens to draw water from more and more locations around the watering hole, leaving the weak tribe less and less space.

    In the latest round of collective punishment, the weak tribe exacts a stunning cost on the Strong tribe’s civilians, the most astonishing of the conflict. Of course, weak tribe has also loss civilians, but in less dramatic fashion and on a smaller scale.

    Strong tribe decides that they must destroy the military and logistics capacity of weak tribe…which they have more than enough capability to do. However, the weak tribe’s force posture is aligned in such a way to maximize their civilian casualties…which they hope will prevent Strong tribe from bringing the necessary amount of combat power to destroy their military wing. Too many civilian deaths and the Strongest of the Strong tribe will be angered at Strong tribes behavior.

    What is Strong tribe to do? If they heed the Strongest of the Strongest tribe, weak tribe (and their sponsor, Strongest of the Weak tribe) they will fall short of their military goals and thus assure more rounds of collective punishment in the future. That may happen anyway even if they do achieve their goal but at least they buy time as weak tribe will have to rebuild their military capacity from scratch.

    Decisions Decisions….

  15. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    So, I’m ‘bullying’ you by disagreeing. Do you need a safe space?

    Just like I’m “pro-Hamas” for disagreeing. You’re a hypocrite. No, I don’t need a safe space from you. I’ve stood up to bullies way bigger than you, you are not intimidating. Just sad.

    When Trump attacked Judge Curiel for his Mexican heritage, even Paul Ryan had the moral clarity to call that “textbook racism.” Trump and his MAGATs trotted out the same pathetic “nationality” deflection as you. You are a textbook racist.

    I’m not a progressive either. That’s just another stupid label flung by a stupid manchild at anyone who won’t bend to his stupid rants.

    The amorality and hyocrisy of dried up bigots like you is unsurprising. Alert to perceived anti-semitism, but has a meltdown at any mention ot Israel’s illegal and indefensible actions towards West Bank civilians.

    Israel’s goverment is deliberately and wrongly targeting Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, in acts of terrorism so egregious that Biden is calling them out. That’s a fact. I’m sorry that fact won’t comport with your hatred and lies.

    You are terrible person. A liar. A bully. A hypocrite. And a racist.

    You suck.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:


    And attacking someone for their nationality is racist, no matter how you try to parse it after the fact.

    Do me a favor, look up the word, ‘racist.’ It’s right there on the Google. Then see if you can find any way to support the notion that race and nationality are the same thing. Or that Argentinians consider themselves a race. You do know there are, like, different races, actual races, in Argentina, right?

    When people criticize the US, are they racists? Is ‘American’ a race? How about Brits? Are they a race? Because they don’t seem to think so.

    ETA: Nope, I’ve changed my mind. I have to confess my deep and abiding hatred of Argentinians. Don’t know that I’ve ever even seen an Argentine, nevertheless, I seethe with hatred for them. Yeah! Fuck those steak houses! Also, Chile makes better wine. Yeah, I love Chileans. Not like those nasty Argentinians.

  17. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I was loudly opposing Bibi, Likud and the settlers

    Presumably this means that you know that Israel has been electing increasingly far-right governments for the last twenty years or so.

    Why is it so hard to accept that a country that routinely elects far-right governments does far-right things in its occupied territories?

  18. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    OK racist.

    Paul Ryan is the Latest Republican to Denounce Trump’s ‘Racist’ Remarks:

    House Speaker Paul Ryan is the latest Republican and Donald Trump supporter to disavow the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s attacks on federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel because of his Mexican heritage.

    You’re not fooling anybody but yourself. Imagine having less moral clarity about these kind of attacks than Paul Ryan, and pompously lecturing others about how they’ve lost their way. Pfft.

    Doubly desperate and pathetic coming from someone who smears anyone that criticizes the Israeli goverment as anti-Semitic and “pro-Hamas.” No nuance about “nationality” then, huh? You are a vicious, meanspirited hypocrite. And not half as clever as you think you are.

    The Pope being Argentinian has nothing to do with his concerns here. You attacked his heritage because you are a racist, shameless, Trump-like, hatemongering monster.

  19. Andy says:

    Well, this comment thread is a shit-show.

    Hope everyone chills TFO and has a good Thanksgiving.

  20. Kingdaddy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Also, um, ‘Argentinian’ is not a race, it’s a nationality. And Argentina is well-known for providing safe haven to Nazis after WW2, as well as a long history of oppression and military juntas, and has now elected an overt fascist.

    Pretty much the compound fallacy, in a nutshell.

  21. Gustopher says:

    One wonders if Francis, who turns 87 next month, simply misspoke here.

    Or maybe, just maybe, the old, anti-war Preacher who used to care for the poor way back when before he got a bigger hat has a different perspective, having paid attention to what is happening on the ground in Gaza. Perhaps he carefully chose his words.

    I’m not going to defend the man (anyone who climbs to the top of an organization like the Catholic Church is going to have issues), but I am in no way surprised that he used this language.

    I would have been surprised in Pope Benedict said anything like this.

  22. KM says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    The clear answer is share the damn watering hole. As your thought experiment didn’t specify that access to the watering hole (or even membership into said tribes) had sacred/religious connotations that mean sharing is a no-go, the blatantly obvious solution is share access or create a second watering hole so fighting over the resource is moot.

    The problem with exclusive access is you have to hold it and it can be taken from you. Beatdowns are gonna happen if brute force is how you hold it alone. If both have valid claims, it’s a matter of Might Makes Right and accepting that the eggs you broke to make your omelet had names and faces. Traditionally, Might Makes Right carries with it the explicit understanding that hurting the weak other in public is not a bad or shameful thing. MMR believers don’t think demonstrating their power is problematic until it negatively affects them.

    Continuing the thought experiment, the Strongest of the Strongest tribe and its peers are seeing a lack of support for Strong tribes actions and become worried about dissent among their own people (and thus loss of power). Strong tribe sees support waning and that might lessen its power as well, maybe even enough for Weak tribe to inflict more damage. Does Strong tribe modulate it’s behavior to keep the needed support up and break the cycle? What’s most important here – singular access, safety for tribe members, power base and membership in the Strongest Alliance, etc? Does Strong have a goal or are they just doing the same thing over and over again because it worked in the past?

  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    Jesus H. Christ. Have I at any point, ever, even implied that I thought Israel was above reproach?

    Let me explain something to you: wars are never, not ever, between devils and saints. Wars are between bad and bad, or sometimes, bad and worse. The Civil War was between bad and worse. The North was racist AF and only belatedly came around to emancipation. WW2 was between bad and worse, if you bear in mind that the bad in that equation was Stalin, one of the greatest murderers of history. We made peace with China and did business with them at the start because we thought they were less bad than the USSR. I could go on and on in a similar vein.

    US foreign policy is largely about finding the least worst people who’ll broadly support us. There are no saints. Not a single fucking one. So, unless you are calling for a return to total isolation, your future is full of bad/worse choices. Rather like elections. FP is not a Hollywood action flick, it’s powers looking for more power, with a variety of ancillary motives.

    The US supports Israel not because we think they are saints, but because they are markedly less bad than everyone else in the neighborhood where they live, and because they can be our cat’s paw in the ME. We also support the KSA who are only very slightly better than Iran, and we support India because despite being flaming religious bigots, they are less bad than China or Pakistan. And we supported Pakistan, which is a horror show, because they helped us kill Taliban who they, still kind of supported at the same time.

    Welcome to the exciting world of foreign policy. This is the real world in which the US operates.

  24. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: This is why I like umbrella terms like “bigot.” There’s far less arguing about specific definitions.

    You see this a lot in the Queer community, with eager young people gatekeeping labels and getting into the stupidest arguments and accusing each other of appropriating labels and watering down people’s identities. From the classic bi/pan arguments, to things involving demisexual aromantic lesbian trans men. It’s stupid. They will all be put in the same camps and made to wear the same pink triangles if the Nazis take over*.

    It’s like the people who argue that they cannot be an antisemite if they support Palestine because Palestinians are semites. (Antisemite was coined as a respectable man’s label for being a Jew Hater). Again, it’s dumb.

    I hate words like “homophobe” because I don’t care if someone is afraid of queer folks, I care what they do with that fear. But, stupidly, that’s not how the word is actually used.

    “Racist” is commonly used (perhaps incorrectly) to refer to those who discriminate or show a strong negative bias against people for national origin, as well as perceived race.

    Anyway, “bigot” is far easier. And it’s such an ugly sounding word for such ugly people.

    *: To be fair, the American Nazis seem far less organized than the German Nazis, so it’s possible there will be no pink triangles just some vague “undesirable” label that catches queer folks, racial groups, the handicapped, and others.

  25. steve says:

    I think Israel is trying pretty hard to avoid civilian deaths in Gaza, not so much in the West Bank.. I think Hamas deliberately kills civilians. However, if you are focused on loss of life as an issue I dont quite understand baby being chopped to bits being a lot worse than baby being bombed to death. Both are dead. Having done trauma care for a long time mothers dont seem to be pretty unhappy about the death of their child regardless of how they die.


  26. Michael Reynolds says:


    the blatantly obvious solution is share access or create a second watering hole so fighting over the resource is moot.

    First, your solution presupposes a situation without shortage, a very modern American POV. You assume there’s enough water, so why not share? How about when there isn’t enough water and keeping the watering hole is the difference between your tribe surviving, and not?

    Second, I often find myself in agreement with you, so I don’t want to laugh, but have you met homo sapiens? Let’s make it personal. How many square feet do you have in your home, vs. how many square feet are in a homeless person’s tent. Why not share? My condo is 2000 square feet, and literally from my balcony, I can see homeless. Am I giving up a bedroom? No, and neither are you.

    The best you can hope for from humans is a degree of charity. A degree. I pay taxes, I donate to organizations, and I slip a homeless guy a five when I run into one. But I don’t let them use my spare bedroom. I imagine you’re much the same. And, as I’ve pointed out many times, all of us Americans live on land taken by force and we ain’t giving it back. Our American solution was ethnic cleansing and imprisonment on ‘reservations’ consisting largely of whatever dirt wasn’t suitable for agriculture or mining.

    There’s no simple solution either to homelessness or the middle east. The blatantly obvious solution is a fantasy.

  27. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The US supports Israel not because we think they are saints, but because they are markedly less bad than everyone else in the neighborhood where they live, and because they can be our cat’s paw in the ME.

    Earlier, we were supposed to support Israel because gays can walk the streets in Tel Aviv. But now suddenly because the world biggest diplomatic headache is actually an asset?

    At least try to keep your story straight instead of throwing random things against the wall to see if anything sticks.

    (And perhaps enlighten us by telling what Israel actually brings to the table here.)

  28. just nutha says:

    @Andy: Here’s wishing you an enjoyable holiday. (But as for chilling TFO i wouldn’t count on it.)

  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    See where I said,

    The US supports Israel not because we think they are saints, but because they are markedly less bad than everyone else in the neighborhood where they live

    ? Think maybe that involves in part greater Israeli tolerance?

  30. CSK says:


    It’s 2:45 p.m. and I need a drink after reading this thread. Perhaps two.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    Oh, look, it’s the non-existent Hamas complex under Al Shifa hospital. Air conditioning, plumbing, power and water supplied from the hospital. Quel surprise! Almost like Hamas deliberately located under a hospital to make human shields of Gazan patients.

  32. KM says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Homo sapiens doesn’t like to share or give up things naturally, that is true. However, self-interest is a funny thing as sharing can often be the best or only way to keep anything going forward. Like I said, Might Makes Right only works if you can keep holding on at the bigger power. Once you go from Strong to Only Kinda Stronger, the math changes quite a bit. For instance, creating a port for Gaza access could be done considering whole islands are being created solely for pleasure in the ME. Extra land can be created if needed, it’s just insanely expensive and not the solution anyone wants to pay for….. now, anyways. The math may change again as self-interest does.

    Israel is a terrible position as that there’s no good solution and any solution will have a rather unacceptable degree of loss. The loss can be life, power, access, identity or all of the above but the current way of doing things isn’t going to work out for them. The cycle has been going for decades and the current problem is just last years’ problem kicked down the road. They were almost set up to fail from the start. That’s why the Six Day War’s ending was such a surprise to everyone – Israel wasn’t supposed to make it as it was initially created. The problems were baked into its creation.

    That being said, at some point something is going to have to give. Technology is advancing extremely fast so that even minor terrorist groups can inflict heavy damage on the strongest of nations. The death tolls are going to go up the longer this goes on and weapons get deadlier. The world has spent decades trying to squash cells like this over and over and we’re still doing it. The future is only going to get worse with climate change and resource issues; Israel is going to see more dead civilians if the cycle remains unchanged. Even if they were the most coldhearted of souls and cared nothing for the Palestinians, the Israeli people are still in danger because this changes nothing – just pushes the problem down the road again. The status quo sucks. For their own self-interest, revisiting the thinking behind some actions is worth it and what’s worth giving up// keeping.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I would trust a guided tour by Hamas as much as a guided tour by the IDF.

    The Israeli government has been pushing their Pallywood (get it, it’s like Bollywood, except Palestinian) “Palestinian Crisis Actors” bullshit using behind the scenes footage from a movie. They have zero credibility without independent confirmation.

    We don’t even know that this is under that hospital.

    Further, it looks like a bomb shelter for the staff of the hospital, an adaptation to living under a life of Israel “mowing the lawn” for the past few decades. Do terrorists put in handrails?

    “We are terrorists, but we put safety first!”

    Is this a terrorist command bunker that was under constant use before the invasion? Maybe. But it could be any number of other things, and we don’t know from the information we have. And, with the area having been under IDF control for days, unless they have video establishing a chain of evidence, we can never know what it was like when they entered.

  34. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @KM: Thanks for playing and illustrating why the smart money is not getting locked into either tribes jockeying for moral authority.

    It seems like the smart thing for either tribe to do is share and end the cycle of collective punishment. But these type of disputes often stay in the primal brains of the participants. Therefore sharing is not an option. The noble 3rd party role here is to set the conditions where sharing can become feasible. But neither the Strongest of the Strong nor the Strongest of the Weak tribe are making good faith efforts to shape their clients along those lines.

    In other words, this is a cluster where only harm reduction has a path forward. No other strategies are viable at this time.

  35. SenyorDave says:

    @DK:There’s no special reason to believe a war cabinet led by Benjamin Netanyahu cares about civilians so much more than Hamas does.
    It depends on what “so much more” means. Do I think the current Israeli government cares about Palestinian civilians. No, but they still aren’t at Hamas’ level. Fortunately, appearances do matter to Israel. At this point IMO they would expel the Palestinians if they could, and wouldn’t care if they all died. Israel’s cabinet has some major league extremists in it.
    The sad part is the shit that is going in the West bank, which at this point is state sanctioned terror. Maybe they are going for a death toll of 1,200 Palestinians killed in the West Bank so they can match Hamas’ totals of Israelis and foreign nationals killed.

  36. EddieInCA says:


    How about Rueters?

    Or how about Fox News?

    There are tunnels. Lots and lots of tunnels.

    Built by Hamas.

    Under schools and hospitals.

    To hide among the civilian population.

  37. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    ? Think maybe that involves in part greater Israeli tolerance?

    In the context of this specific discussion, I don’t think that has much to do with US policy toward Israel and Palestine.

  38. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @drj: Pretty simple. They are a functional Democracy backed by the US and the West. They are our brand. They also provide us intel support against Iran, and if needed, basing and staging if we ever went to war against Iran.

    These are our broader interests. We aren’t going to flush that away over human rights of people antithetical to our interests. That’s not to say we don’t care…we do. Israel committing human rights violations is also bad for our brand so we also have an interest in ensuring they behave….but not at the expense of our primary interests.

  39. SenyorDave says:

    @Jim Brown 32: We aren’t going to flush that away over human rights of people antithetical to our interests
    Not sure what you are trying to say here. Do you mean that Palestinians are somehow antithetical to US interests? Or just their human rights?

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Has this conversation really sunk to a level where people who wouldn’t normally are going to cite Fox News if the report supports their bias? REALLY?

  41. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: First, these are people reporting what the IDF is claiming, not independent reporting that is verifying facts claimed.

    Second, Fox News?

    Third, while there are lots of tunnels used by Hamas, this is rooms attached to a hospital in an area that is regularly subject to air raids over the past few decades. Nothing has established that these were Terror Tunnels (either wholly Terror Tunnels, or even dual use)

    My middle school had a bomb shelter, because someone thought that we could all ride out a nuclear attack under the school. Was this bomb shelter a Terrorist Training Tunnel?

    Assuming that these tunnels the IDF is showing are even under the hospital. (The “Pallywood” claims that are transparently false put all Israeli government claims under suspicion)

    You are seeing and reacting to propaganda. Everything coming out of the Israeli government (or Hamas) is propaganda.

    Sometimes propaganda is true, highlighting very real things that make the enemy look bad. Other times it’s completely made up bullshit.

    Do you know that the majority of Fox News viewers believed we found WMDs in Iraq? That’s because they believed the bullshit.

    If the ceasefire holds, we might get reputable third parties in who can confirm that the tunnels exist, and that their current state matches what the Israelis claim (it will be hard to verify that they were in whatever state the Israelis claimed they were in initially, but there may be supporting evidence). And, they may be able to actually interview hospital staff, and look for corroborating evidence if there are claims of non-Terrorist uses.

    We live in a world of infinite cell phones. We are as likely to find hospital staff who have taken selfies in the rooms below the hospital while waiting for the Lawnmower Man to finish Mowing The Lawn as we are to find Hamas Terrorist selfies in those rooms.

    A few days ago the IDF showed everyone of a laptop and some CD-ROMs they found that proved terrorists were there, in the imaging lab. And then they said nothing when people pointed out that you would expect an imaging lab to have a laptop and CD-ROMs.

    Until we find evidence of how these specific tunnels were used, I wouldn’t be crowing that they found anything relevant.

  42. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @SenyorDave: The Palestinians do not share US or Western values or worldview. Their plight is also not a convenient cudgel for us to use against another adversary (i.e China or Russia)

    Therefore, we will care as much from a standpoint of Israel damaging the US brand. The US and the West only care (care here meaning we will actually expend resources and capital to do something about it) as much as it aligns with our international political and economic interests. Palestinian factors into neither so our actions will be performative and oriented towards brand protection (I.e yanking the choke chain on Israel once our other regional partners get pissy at us)

  43. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Gustopher: This is really a stretch, simply from the fact that the IDF cannot afford to be caught in a boldface light. If they are going to lie they need to lie about things that can’t be verified.

    One selfie of a hospital employee in that tunnel posted to Twitter will set the IDF back more they can afford. They need credibility with the US and the West to continue the operations with tacit support.

  44. Kingdaddy says:

    For what it’s worth, this IDF spokesperson points out past news articles, from the last 15 years, which already identified the hospital as something more than just a hospital.


  45. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    This is really a stretch, simply from the fact that the IDF cannot afford to be caught in a boldface light. If they are going to lie they need to lie about things that can’t be verified.


    In November 2023, Israeli diplomat Ofir Gendelman circulated a clip from a Lebanese short film, claiming that it was proof that Palestinians were faking videos, and calling it an example of “Pallywood”.[16] The disinformation was quickly called out on social media.[16]

    Who is Ofir Gendelman? Let’s look at his own Wikipedia page.


    Ofir Gendelman (Hebrew: אופיר גנדלמן; Arabic: أوفير جندلمان; born July 19, 1971) is an Israeli diplomat and current spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office,[1]

    Has he done more?

    According to the Daily Beast, “Gendelman is a repeat offender when it comes to peddling misinformation about Palestinians”.[2] The previous week, Gendelman had peddled IDF training videos as war footage, and in 2021, he was found by international media to have misrepresented 2018 footage from Syria as current footage from Gaza.[2]

    Has Gendelman been fired? No.

    So, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to me that the IDF would lie if the Israeli PM’s spokesman would lie. What are the consequences of lying? A few people never trust the Israeli government again, but far more people believe the lie, and some people give up on the notion of truth.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    One selfie of a hospital employee in that tunnel posted to Twitter will set the IDF back more they can afford. They need credibility with the US and the West to continue the operations with tacit support.

    That shows the tunnels were dual use, or that the hospital employee was Hamas… at least to people who want to believe that.

    They don’t need credibility with the west, they just need a credulous west. And they have that, whatever the actual truth might be.

    ETA: I mean this in the best possible way, but what planet have you been living on for the past few years, and how do I get there? It sounds nice.

  47. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Gustopher: Planet Reality. You should buy a ticket to it…only, you actually have to travel to it. It’s not a place you can know too much about if you only read about it.

    Although I will say that Americans with education are the most sure of the opinions of things they’ve only read about.

    And by the way. Dual use targets are legal and valid military targets under international law.

  48. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    As I have been known to comment in other venues and topics,

    bwa haha hahahaha hahahahahaha

    Dude, you’re killing me.

  49. Andy says:


    Hamas has categorically stated the tunnels are not for civilian use, but specifically to protect Hamas fighters from airstrikes and to use as fighting positions. Hamas specifically says it doesn’t build bomb shelters for civilians because it is the responsibility of the UN and “the occupier” to care for the people of Gaza, not Hamas. So, your theory of “dual use” is contradicted by Hamas itself. Here is the video.

    More context here.

  50. EddieInCA says:


    Obviously you didn’t click through the links.

    Maybe you should have before you spouted shit so easily debunked by the actual reporting on the ground.

    Fox News has a lot of propagandists but they also have a solid News division. And Trey Yingst is a real reporter covering the war on the ground and he was reporting FROM INSIDE THE TUNNEL SYSTEM.

  51. Gustopher says:


    Fox News has a lot of propagandists but they also have a solid News division

    There are no ethical journalists working for Fox. None.

    You simply cannot be an ethical journalist working alongside a propaganda operation, where your work will be presented stripped of context to create a narrative that misinforms viewers.

    This isn’t hard.

    Was Fox’s news division debunking the lies Trump was making about the election being stolen? No, they were not.

    Do they lie as flagrantly as the Fox News Editorial division? Probably not, but all information coming from Fox should be considered suspect — there’s a good chance it is false, misleading or incomplete.

    Just like statements from the Israeli government, except the Israeli government is more likely to just flat out lie.

    And the Israeli government giving a Fox News reporter a guided tour? They chose Fox for a reason.

    I skimmed the video. Tunnels, somewhere (presumably under the hospital) and empty rooms. No indication of what the empty rooms are used for, other than a few bed frames some toilets and a sink.

    Were they Terrorist Toilets? It’s really hard to tell whether a toilet is involved in terrorism.

    @Andy: I wouldn’t trust Hamas either. Particularly not broad statements meant for external consumption taking a maximalist line.

    It doesn’t seem unreasonable to want independent reporters looking into how these rooms were used, what was in these rooms, etc. Or even how many buildings don’t have tunnels and bunkers.

    At present, a few empty rooms doesn’t seem like such a grand prize that attacking a hospital was particularly worth it. Even if those were Terror Toilets and a Terror Sink, it looks like the Terrorists pulled out long before they got there.

    Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving all. I hope you don’t get bombed by the IDF because they have a beef with your neighbors.

  52. SenyorDave says:

    @EddieInCA: Fox News has a lot of propagandists but they also have a solid News division.
    Seriously? A solid news division? How many times has the Fox News division been complicit in framing a story. Let’s take the Vince Foster “murder”. Step 1, it gets repeated ad nauseum on Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, etc. Step 2, Fox News has stories about “reports” of a murder of a senior WH official. And you can say with a straight face that Fox News has a solid news division.

  53. Gustopher says:


    Ehud Barak, former Israeli PM, explaining that the tunnels and rooms under the hospital were built by Israel decades ago.

    So the existence of tunnels and bunkers (all that is shown by the IDF guided tours so far) proves nothing. It does explain the kitchen and the toilets with plumbing, and the room with air conditioning — details pointed out in the video MR linked to which were used to claim that this was a Hamas center meant for long term habitation.

    It also explains the handrails, which I don’t think were cited by the guided tour, but which stand out as not-on-brand for Hamas.

    Barak goes on to claim that they were being used by Hamas recently, but that they evacuated and removed everything before the Israeli attack on the hospital. He cites secret intelligence.

    So, an attack on a hospital to get empty rooms built by Israel.

    If there was anything left behind in the claimed Hamas command center that actually makes this attack worthwhile, it has yet to be shown.