Who caused the explosion that, Hamas claims. killed hundreds of people in a Gaza hospital?

October 18, 2023 • 8:30 am

This is the big question today, and it bears strongly on whether Israel violated the laws of war by bombing a hospital.  As initially reported by the NYT, which keeps changing its headlines, on Tuesday an explosion occurred at the Ahli Arab Hospital in the southern part of Gaza City, killing (according to initial reports), 500 people.  Now today’s headline reports hundreds killed, but, as the Free Press notes, the NYT narrative has changed with respect to both who caused the explosion and how many Gazans were killed. Here are three headlines for the same story, given in chronological order:


From yesterday’s Free Press piece:

Israeli authorities soon after denied responsibility. An IDF spokesperson said that no Israeli aircraft had been operating in the area of the hospital at the time of the explosion. Israel has released footage they say shows that the hospital was struck by a wayward missile fired from within Gaza. The spokesperson further said the Israeli military will release recordings of intercepted conversations and drone footage that they claim demonstrates the hospital was hit by a rocket fired by Gaza-based terrorist group Islamic Jihad.

Realizing their mistake, editors at the Times changed the headline on their homepage to: “At Least 500 Dead in Strike on Gaza Hospital, Palestinians Say.”

And then changed it again to: “At Least 500 Dead in Blast at Gaza Hospital, Palestinians Say.”

So in the space of several hours, it went from an Israeli strike to an ambiguous blast.

Today’s headlinc further changes “at least 500” to “hundreds”.

That may reflect the paper (which is pro-Palestinian) having increasing doubts about Hamas’s figures. But this is quibbling a bit: there’s no doubt that there were many deaths at Ahli Arab Hospital.

UPDATE: Now I hear (see this article from the Times of Israel) adducing evidence that the hospital may not have been damaged much at all, and that the parking lot took most of the damage! A tweet:

If this is true, then Hamas is guilty of gross fabrication.

The issue is who caused the explosion? Was it an Israeli bomb or a rocket fired by a terrorist group?

(You can follow the live coverage of this, including a press conference buy the IDF) at The Guardian.)

I was deeply depressed when the first reports came out definitively blaming Israel. Everybody seemed to believe them, and many pro-Palestinians posted tweets supporting Israel’s responsibility. Here are two of the usual Congressional suspects:

Other media outlets simply repeated the story given by Hamas, even if some sources—but not all: see two below)—did qualify it as “information from Hamas”. Others, like the NYT’s first headling immediately held Israel responsible. They were just printing what Hamas told them had happened.

But there were many more such tweets.  But if Israel did this on purpose, it was guilty of a war crime.  I didn’t think Israel would bomb a hospital on purpose, even if Hamas operatives were operating in the basement. And if it was an accidental bombing, it shows a lack of due diligence on Israel’s part. Either way, Israel’s lack of either morality or diligence would displace the country on its moral high ground (less high, in my view, because of the siege, which has, thank Ceiling Cat, been largely lifted). And I would have to condemn Israel for killing so many people. I’d do that, but somehow, given its history of warfare, I didn’t fully buy the “Israel bombed a hospital” story.  I wrote about it yesterday (it’s in this morning’s Nooz), but said I’d like to see some evidence about who was responsible. Others, like Tlaib and Omar, or even the New York Times, don’t need evidence; they buy Hamas’s story whole hog because it supports their narrative.

Two days ago I remember hearing IDF spokesman said that the IDF was investigating and, if they found they were responsible for the hospital explosion, they’d say so. (I can’t find a link to that.). But several pieces of information now suggest that the hospital was taken down not by the IDF, but by a rocket fired by terrorists.  I cannot say for sure that the hospital explosion was caused by terrorist rockets misfiring. But I will say that we have at least two (or three) pieces of evidence for that (video and audio), and if you start with a Bayesian probability of 50% (both sides equally likely), that probability has moved higher in the direction of terrorist responsibility. Granted, all the evidence comes from Israel, but we have no evidence for Israel culpability coming from Hamas.

Further, if Palestinian rockets nearly always functioned perfectly, we’d have more confidence that such a rocket could not have hit the hospital. But as reader Simon informed me, and we all know, there is a long history of misfired rockets coming from Gaza, some (from Islamic Jihad) killing children.  And many rockets are fired at Israel from Gaza, increasing the chances that at least some will misfire.

But put that as a bit of evidence weighting the Bayesian probability towards terrorists. Below is additional video evidence, which of course people are already discounting because it comes from the IDF.

UPDATE: In a comment below, Coel says this: “Worth pointing out, Jerry, what while the Tweet that you embed is from the IDF, they are quoting a Tweet from Al Jazeera, and the video itself is by Al Jazeera.”

But this video came not from the IDF but from cameras owned by Channel 12 news (an Israeli station):

According to the Times of Israel, the IDF has released intercepted audio supporting the terrorist-rocket scenario:

The IDF has released a recording of what it says was an intercepted phone call between two Hamas operatives who discuss the failed Islamic Jihad rocket that landed on the Gaza hospital.

That recording, released by the IDF, is below.

You can see same recording issued by the Israel Foreign Ministry here. The recording with English subtitles.

Now I’ll give this a bit less weight than the video evidence, but it has some weight, especially because if it proves to be fake, Israel will look pretty bad: making up evidence to exculpate itself.  Further, on Twitter (yes, Twitter), many commenters, many with Arabic handles, are finding reasons why this audio was fake: it would be easy to fake, Hamas operatives do not use phones that could be tapped, the accents of the Arabic speakers are not right for Gaza, and so on.  But nobody here, including me, is an expert, so Twitter doesn’t substitute for empirical evidence.

Finally, we have this from Reuters (I haven’t seen the Israeli drone footage):

Israel later released drone footage of the scene of the explosion, which it said showed it was not responsible because there was no impact crater from any missile or bomb.

And this from the Guardian’s livestream:

The IDF produced evidence on Wednesday morning, which it said showed there was no crater at the hospital that would have pointed to an air strike. Instead the blast had been caused by the warhead and propellant of a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket.

All told, even given that all the evidence supporting a misfired terrorist rocket comes from Israeli sources, it is now more credible than not that the hospital was hit by a misfired rocket launched by either Hamas or Islamic Jihad. The Bayesian prior is weighted towards a terrorist scenario.

I don’t regard this as “absolute proof,” of course. But if Hamas has evidence suggesting that this is an Israeli-caused explosion, let them release it.  So far, we have nothing. If Israel is responsible there should, for example, be fragments of Israeli bombs.

the NYT:

President Biden appears to endorse Israel’s denial of responsibility for the explosion at the Gaza hospital. “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” he said. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure.” Israel has blamed Palestinian militants. Palestinian officials said Israel was responsible. Neither claim has been independently verified.

But they add:

It was not clear from the president’s comments whether U.S. intelligence agencies have independently validated Israel’s insistence that an errant Islamic Jihad rocket destroyed the Gaza hospital. On the flight to Israel, officials told reporters on Air Force One that they were still gathering information and did not offer any theory one way or the other.

Within a few days we will surely have more evidence to put into our Bayesian calculation.

Because of the widespread belief that Israel bombed a hospital, the summit in Jordan that was to take place this week has been cancelled after Mahmoud Abbas refused to go. That takes a lot of wind out of Biden’s trip to Israel (he’s there now), for the summit might have produced some salubrious results, like more humanitarian aid to Gaza. Also, some Palestinians in the West Bank, also convinced that Israel bombed the hospital, are rioting to the extent that they have to be held back by Palestinian police.  They are in no mood to support Abbas  since many want the Palestinian Authority, headed by President-for-Life Abbas, to either find new leadership or be taken over by terrorist organizations.

This whole mess shows the power of confirmation bias, and I have to say that I was from the outset on the side of Israel. But I was prepared to condemn it, for I don’t want to support a country that, during war, does things like bomb hospitals. (Israel’s other actions, like settling the West Bank, are another matter.)

Yet in the end I will never say that in this war Hamas was in the right and Israel in the wrong for one reason: Hamas deliberately targets civilians, and virtually all the evidence we have is that Israel deliberately avoids targeting civilians. Hamas’s deliberate targeting of civilians, so brutally instantiated on October 7, is buttressed by the fact that Hamas is still firing missiles willy-nilly into Israel, trying to hit civilians. Doesn’t that count in this moral calculus?

61 thoughts on “Who caused the explosion that, Hamas claims. killed hundreds of people in a Gaza hospital?

  1. Given all the evidence so far, a Palestinian misfire seems most likely.
    What I wonder is: if that version of events is confirmed, will Tlaib and Omar walk back their accusations (which are even more absurd seeing how Biden IS trying to deescalate), or will they tacitly go looking for other mud to fling in Israel’s direction?

  2. Below is additional video evidence, which of course people are already discounting because it comes from the IDF:

    Worth pointing out, Jerry, what while the Tweet that you embed is from the IDF, they are quoting a Tweet from Al Jazeera, and the video itself is by Al Jazeera.

  3. Malcom Nance, a forensic expert in the field, said that based on the characteristics of the blast field, it was not an Israeli bomb, but rather a local rocket impact.
    In any case, I call readers’ attention to the 14-minute Sam Harris podcast published on this site yesterday…in case it got lost on you. He speaks very clearly on the issue of moral equivalence. Link is https://www.samharris.org/podcasts/making-sense-episodes/338-the-sin-of-moral-equivalence
    And click the BLUE “preview” box.

    1. Babylon Bee had a great comment on this:


      “Emperor Hirohito Calls For Ceasefire After Bombing Of Pearl Harbor”

      Note the date. Calls for “ceasefire” were near immediate.


      Now, also cue the bizarre and idiotic “proportionality” arguments (and fake lawfare: btw, there is no proportionality argument in international law; there is only a proviso against killing civilians in excess for a military target — whatever that means).

      Israel needs to win. They hopefully will be successful at minimizing civilian casualties despite Hamas desire to see civilians die.

      The only goal (for the world) should be to kill all of Hamas everywhere, if the “peace process” is a thing. So let’s get on with it. That’s the real conversation, not whether Israel should respond.

      Watching this thing go backwards on Israel I hope convinces many that our country has been on a wrong path for a long time.

      Serious element of willful denial of reality here. Just like the losses of free speech …

  4. At least at this point, it is unclear if a Hamas rocket hit the hospital or if a Hamas rocket blew up while Hamas was trying to fire it. The latter should not be too surprising. The US and the USSR have suffered from many rocket explosions over the years. Rather recently, Elon Musk has had many rocket explosions.

    1. I’m trying to square this with hundreds of dead people. Were they all getting treatment in the parking lot?

      So much about this doesn’t make sense, and I find the “evidence” more confusing than clarifying.

      Still, I find it hard to believe that IDF would target a hospital. While both sides have an incentive to lie about the cause of the blast, I am inclined to give more weight to IDF’s version than Hamas’.

    2. It’s also worth pointing out, which I’ve so far seen very few people do, that there is never an accurate body count immediately after an event with many fatalities. But somehow Hamas was claiming “500 deaths” as soon as the incident was made public. There is simply no way to do that, particularly after something as violent as this supposedly was.

    1. It’s pretty bad, isn’t it? Just remember, a substantial number, probably the majority, of the NYT staffers come from the same elite universities that seem to overwhelmingly support Hamas, or at the very least are sympathetic to Palestinian aggression against Israel.

  5. I have no doubt the rocket was fired by the Islamic Jihad Org. since the price Israel would pay for lying about it is too prohibitive, but it must be said that when you fire thousands of bombs, even if you have 99.9% accuracy you should expect few of them to miss. That’s why Israel has warned Gaza’s citizens to vacate the city for the next few weeks, with all unavoidable suffering. As you might know Hamas is trying to keep them in harm’s way, as civilian casualties serve its’ purpose in the world public opinion.

  6. An update to my earlier comment which isn’t posted yet:

    In this article there’s video of the aftermath, taken in daylight, which shows several damaged cars in a parking lot. No obvious damage to any of the buildings, nor a blast crater. Not only am I increasingly convinced that the IDF’s claim is true, I’m deeply skeptical of the claimed death toll. This reeks of a Hamas propaganda effort to discredit Israel.


  7. I first heard about this bombing last night. I really don’t trust either side to be completely truthful, though an accidental explosion does seem more likely.

    I’ll give Biden credit for trying to persuade the Israelis to not go overboard in their reaction to the terrorism.

    1. Have you seen any Israeli lies since the terrorist attack a week and a half ago? Even the IDF spokesman said “We don’t know what happened and we’re investigating. We’ll let you know when we find out.” That’s not a lie. What Hamas said about Israel bombing the hospital is, given the evidence, likely to be a lie.

        1. Even though skepticism is justified there is no symmetry. Of course IDF spokesman is not objective, but he very rarely blatantly lies, while Hammas is doing it on a daily basis.

  8. This is a terrible development, which I have been glued to since it first happened. A couple of points:

    —Israel is quite aware of the importance of maintaining the moral high ground with the international community.

    —Israel does not want to embarrass President Biden, as continued support by the U.S. is essential.

    —Israel does not want to ruin President Biden’s plan to meet with other leaders of the region (now ruined because of the hospital catastrophe). Cancelling the meetings harms efforts to bring humanitarian aid into the region.

    —Purposely destroying the hospital with its hundreds of patients and personnel—even if it kills some terrorists—would spur protests all over the world that could force governments to end support for Israel’s efforts to destroy Hamas. Israel would not risk this.

    In other words, Israel *would not benefit* by purposely destroying the hospital. For those reasons alone, I have questioned the claim that Israel was responsible.

    —Israel could be responsible but, if, so, it was an accident (which is still a humanitarian and a public relations disaster).

    —Hamas or Islamic Jihad could be responsible, if one of their rockets spun out of control by accident.

    —Hamas or Islamic Jihad could have purposely destroyed the hospital to damage Israel’s moral standing, destroy Biden’s trip, etc., all the things I mention above. These groups are well-known for their willingness to put civilians in the line of fire.

    The probability of Israel destroying the hospital purposely is very low, and the probability of Israel destroying it by accident is low (but higher than doing it on purpose).

    1. Just to point out that you’re assuming that there actually was a “hospital catastrophe” (as opposed to a damaged car park and some burned cars), which has not yet been established.

      1. It seems pretty clear now that it is a parking-lot (carpark) catastrophe. The loss of life could be substantial because it was said that there were many people sheltering in the open there, figuring that the adjacent hospital would not be a target.

      2. True. I should have called it an alleged hospital catastrophe. The rest of the argument stays the same.

  9. Jerry, you are commendably bending over backwards even when evidence says (I think pretty clearly) that Hamas did this, likely by accident, but also mendaciously exploited by them to a gullible press.
    But the press, with its short memory, may now have some memory about this mis-direction from Hamas, come the next time that they lie and lie again.

    1. Reminds me of the MSM’s inability to counter Trump’s lies, after years and years of being burned (how many years did it take the MSM to even call Trump a liar, or a bigot, for that matter). If the way they handle Trump is any indicator, they will continue to fall for Hamas propaganda.

      1. The USA mainstream media probably tries to avoid offending conservatives, so they were very polite about Trump.
        The German media, however, has no such compunctions.

        Bekannt ist: In der Niederlage zeigt ein Mensch seinen wahren Charakter. Bei Donald Trump war das nicht nötig. Längst weiß die ganze Welt, dass der scheidende Präsident der USA ein geistig beschränkter, dreister, dilettantischer, arroganter, egomanischer und empathieloser Lügner ist. Niemanden dürfte es also verwundern, dass er sich nun auch als hundsmiserabler Verlierer präsentiert.


        It’s known that in defeat a person shows their true character. In the case of Donald Trump, that wasn’t necessary. For a long time, the whole world has known that the departing USA president is a mentally limited, shameless, amateurish, arrogant, egomaniacal liar without empathy. It shouldn’t amaze anyone, that he has also turned out to be a dog-awful loser.

        I particularly enjoyed “dog-awful” 🙂

        1. Ha! Thanks for this. I also enjoy “dog-awful” about right! The entire paragraph encompasses Trump to a…well, “T”. I appreciate the direct truth that Germans don’t shy away from. Why let politeness get in the way of truth? When profit or ideology is the modus operandi of a news organization, truth is the first casualty. One reason I’m skeptical of pretty much every American news outlet. Fox? forget about it, but even the “liberal media” is owned by billionaires who put $tock price before truth. What a world.

  10. It’s stuff like this that makes we wonder why I still read the NYT. They clearly have an anti-Israel bias, and are not careful in their research. They know full well that the first headline they run on an issue tends to be what people remember….I can guarantee that “500 people killed by Israeli strike on hospital” will be what most people take away from this regardless of any retractions or updates.

    This will just become part of the lore of anti-Israel propaganda. Moral imbeciles like Rashida Tlaib will continue to repeat this lie for years to come.

  11. The Israelis are more believable on the subject, since they have given supporting evidence, while Hamas has none, so far as I know.
    Using one’s own citizens as human shields has the advantage that it’s easy to make the other side look guilty of atrocities.

  12. Excerpt from the WSJ (updated 1:13pm ET):

    Israel, the U.S. government and independent security experts cast doubt Wednesday on Palestinian claims that an Israeli airstrike was responsible for a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital compound, saying the preliminary evidence pointed to a local militant group.

    Independent analysts poring over publicly available images of Tuesday’s explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and its aftermath say the blast site doesn’t bear the hallmarks of a strike with a bomb or missile of the types usually used by Israel.

    The amount of damage also appears inconsistent with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry’s assertion that 471 people were killed.
    “We have none of the indicators of an airstrike—none,” said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an expert on military and security issues.

    The U.S. has collected “high confidence” signals intelligence indicating that the blast at the hospital in Gaza was caused by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, U.S. officials said, buttressing Israel’s contention that it wasn’t responsible for the blast.

    The U.S. assessment that Israel wasn’t behind the blast at the hospital drew, in part, on communications intercepts and other intelligence gathered by the U.S., defense officials said.

    “Our current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open source information, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said, adding that the U.S. continues to collect information on the incident.


  13. There is no doubt in my mind that the explosion was directly related to the Islamic Jihad multiple rocket launch seconds before the hospital blast.
    I think the most important lesson to be learned here comes from watching the response of antisemitic media and the mobs of Jew haters.
    They do not care how much evidence is provided that it was an Islamic Jihad short round, one of hundreds.

    Biden was just shown on TV telling us that 100m dollars will be given to the Palestinians.

      1. I was for several years tasked with providing physical security for aid missions in Africa and the Middle East.
        One thing I observed over and over was that terrorist or warlord regimes always find a way to intercept such aid and use it to consolidate their power or torment their enemies.
        We might just eliminate the middle man and send them more missiles.

        1. Thank you for your service, Max and I always take your pov seriously, esp. when it comes to military matters and the nuance which accompanies such matters. I have a friend who served in the Special Forces, Desert Storm and 2 tours in Iraq and he at times had to protect “suitcases of money” for questionable characters. Such is the business of war and no questions asked, only speculation.
          I would suggest this money that Biden is offering has a lot more caveats than your missions in “Africa or the Middle East” you (or my friend) were involved in. This won’t be “cash” for one thing. All transactions will be digital, monitored and traced accordingly, and how do these funds get into terrorist hands? Someone can explain that. If America et al. can’t keep this kind of money out of the hands of terrorists like Hamas, esp. NOW, then what’s the point? I can see the difficulty, perhaps futility, of keeping money out of the hands of a “Putin” who operates and runs a vast country and economy, but Hamas?

          And to be Devil’s Advocate, what do we say to a Biden (or any POTUS) who doesn’t speak out, doesn’t visit, doesn’t provide humanitarian monetary aid? “Don’t bother, POTUS, the warlords will squander all your efforts, consolidate their power, steal your aid-money, torment your enemies, and end-up sending all your adversaries more missiles. It’s best just to go home and forget about this mess.”

          That attitude against the Palestinians might work for Trump, but Biden is not a demagogue.

          1. I suspect that most people underestimate the duplicitousness and scheming encountered in these situations.

            Once you get aid of any sort into Gaza, any distribution is going to be controlled by Hamas. That opens opportunities for them to steer it to those currently in their favor, and to deny it to those not quite as enthusiastic about jihad.
            That certainly includes grants to rebuild infrastructure or housing.

            Even direct food aid is subject to the same rules, and remains a valuable commodity, which can be sold inside or outside the region.

            Many of the locally-made rockets fired at Israel have casings that started out as water pipes donated by naive Europeans.

            As you try to move the supplies through the region, every checkpoint and inspection requires some sort of payoff, often a portion of the aid. That is the case in normal times, doubly so in a shooting war.

            “Aid” often includes items one might not expect, like salaries for bureaucrats in the region, as their pay is often interrupted by war.

            It is my judgement that it would be completely impossible to ensure that any significant amount of aid sent to Gaza would actually make it to those it is intended for. There is just no way to maintain control of the process. FYI- the agencies I worked for are the ones still in play in the region.

        2. Israel and the USA are of course concerned about that.

          Israel said Wednesday that it will allow Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. …
          Biden said Egypt’s president agreed to open the crossing and to let in an initial group of 20 trucks with humanitarian aid. If Hamas confiscates aid, “it will end,” he said. …
          Supplies will go in under supervision of the U.N., Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Al-Arabiya TV. …
          Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the decision was approved after a request from Biden. It said Israel “will not thwart” deliveries of food, water or medicine from Egypt, as long as they are limited to civilians in the south of the Gaza Strip and don’t go to Hamas militants.


          At some point, they have to help the civilians, even if there’s a risk that some of it will go to Hamas.

        3. One of the points of the Hamas strategy of using the Gazans as human shields is that it’s easy to make the Israelis look guilty of atrocities.
          This applies to allowing humanitarian aid to Gazans as well as to the explosion at the hospital.
          At some point, Israel denying humanitarian aid to the Gazans would be playing into the hands of Hamas.
          Some of the prevalent perception of the Palestinians as victims of Israel may be the result of this kind of manipulation.

  14. I have been thinking about this and it all points to a Hamas rocket. Some of this is what I know about the weapons the Israelis use and the impact that they would have had.

    The explosion produced a crater about 1m in diameter and 30cm deep with little blast damage beyond the immediate vicinity. The Israelis use precision guided weapons (LGB and JTAMs that would have produced a MUCH deeper crater ( if impact fused ) and would have devastated much more: windows of adjacent buildings are still intact. Air-burst weapons would, again, have produced a massive blast which would have caused havoc.

    However the warhead of a rocket or unspent fuel? Especially if there were other sources ( petrol ) of ignition around…

    One interesting thought: the Al-Ahli Arab hospital has only 80 beds. Even accounting for overcrowding I find it difficult to reconcile that number with the claimed casualties.

      1. But this clearly didn’t happen. Not there. The video I’ve seen showed ambulances (including one painted as being a gift from the Muslims of Edmonton, Canada) bringing people, many of whom looked to be in one piece, including one old lady in a wheelchair, to the hospital.

  15. This twitter thread combines a lot of daytime images and videos of the hospital site in daylight (today or yesterday, not sure).


    Consistent with several parts of a rocket falling in the parking area around the hospital, causing damage to roofs and cars plus leaving a small crater about the size of a picnic basket (not consistent with a large Israeli Air Force bomb), and sparking a large fire among the parked cars. Lots of people camped out in the outdoor area around the hospital including the parking lot. So consistent with the idea that a lot of people might have been killed by the rocket parts and the fire. Sad & tragic. Also not an Israeli war crime.

  16. No surprise that those former “movement atheist” types that went all-in on “social justice” a few years ago, all jumped to the wrong conclusion about the hospital explosion. One example is Dan “The Zionists” Arel, who has always slid into antisemitism on these matters. He’s STILL claiming Israel bombed the hospital and killed hundreds. This is despite no evidence that was the case, and all we know so far is that an explosion occurred on the grounds outside the hospital, and that nobody knows conclusively what caused it. One FTB blogger, Marcus Ranum, was quick to blame Israel and claim “there are people seriously suggesting it might have been a Hamas rocket misfire”.

    Then again, these peeps were not noted for their rationalism and skepticism. “Facts don’t matter” as Matt Dillahunty said.

  17. In war, things go wrong. Did PIJ mean to attack the hospital in Gaza? Almost certainly, no. Did a rocket fired by PIJ blow up near the hospital? Almost certainly, yes. In WW2, the US bombed the docks in Rotterdam (to prevent the Germans from using the docks). One of our bombers dropped its bombs on a residential neighborhood. Did we mean to kill Dutch civilians? No. Did we? Yes.

    Of course, war is also the end of truth. Also in WW2, the Germans found the mass graves in the Katyn forest. They blamed Stalin and the USSR. Stalin and the USSR blamed the Germans. The mass killings were actually committed by Stalin and the USSR. More recently, the Russian apartment bombings may or may not have actually been committed by the FSB (this is still highly disputed). Note that Chechens (and other folks from the Caucus region) did commit all sorts of crimes (including the Beslan school takeover).

  18. Here’s a quick but long (worth it I think, sorry) excerpt from Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth – this is the preface written by Jean-Paul Sartre in (Sept. 1961, p. lxi, 60th ann. ed. 2021, Grove Press, NY) (bold added):

    “They would do well to read Fanon; for he shows clearly that this irrepressible violence is neither a storm in a teacup, nor the reemergence of savage instincts, nor even a consequence of resentment: it is man reconstructing himself. I believe we once knew, at one time, and have since forgotten, the truth that no indulgence can erase the marks of violence: violence alone can eliminate them. And the colonized are cured of colonial neurosis by driving the colonist out by force. Once their rage explodes, they recover their lost coherence, they experience self-knowledge through reconstruction of themselves; from afar we see their war as the triumph of barbarity; but it proceeds on its own to gradually emancipate the fighter and progressively eliminates the colonial darkness inside and out. As soon as it begins it is merciless. Either one must remain terrified or become terrifying -which means surrendering to the dissociations of a fabricated life or conquering the unity of one’s native soil. When the peasants lay hands on a gun, the old myths fade, and one by one the taboos are overturned: a fighter’s weapon is his humanity. For in the first phase of the revolt killing is a necessity: killing a European is killing two birds with one stone, eliminating in one go oppressor and oppressed: leaving one man dead and the other man free; for the first time the survivor feels a national soil under his feet. In that moment the nation does not forsake him: it is there wherever he goes and wherever he is-always by his side, it merges with his freedom.”

    He goes on about the colonial army’s response.

    Keen readers will notice [1] gnosis – “self-knowledge …” – and [2] hermetic alchemy – “… through reconstruction of themselves” ; and perhaps the dialectic – Americans underwent violent revolution too, so it’s ok if we do it, because we do it without all the evil things and it comes out better.

    I found this excerpt to differ significantly from other copies out there, so I assume it is due to translation from French. The word “kill” and “gun” are consistent, though I was confused about humanity as a weapon.

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