“In the past, Israeli authorities have claimed that on the 7th of October, Hamas fighters killed and slaughtered a number of babies, beheaded a number of babies and raped a number of women,” said Prof Saikal, who is also a distinguished visiting fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“Later on it became very clear that they were just lies (and) they were just part of a propaganda war going on between the two sides.”
HOSTAGE RELEASE AND CEASEFIRE
Mr Behm noted that securing the release of hostages and eradicating Hamas should not be seen as competing objectives.
“Israel has to be able to reduce the threat from terrorism and at the same time, be able to rescue the hostages and return them to their families. It’s a difficult set of objectives to achieve either way,” he said.
“Until we have some kind of cessation of hostilities, until we have an ability for the international community to provide humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza … and until we have an opportunity to see the evidence that Israel is able to mount for the continuation of its operations in northern Gaza, we are left wondering exactly what is the next phase.”
While there appears to be some optimism towards the negotiations for a cessation of hostilities, Mr Behm said these are difficult issues and both sides will need more time to come to some kind of agreement.