Analysis of the News: “We have abolished all the rules of war, our soldiers will not be held accountable in the court!”

October 2023.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

We have abolished all the rules of war, our soldiers will not be held accountable in the court!

In addition to a variety of unverifiable news about the successes of the Russian military in Ukraine and the very close victory of Russia, including a lot of articles dedicated to Putin and the usual anti-Western narratives, this week is also special because of the conflict in the Gaza Strip that began on October 7. with massive shelling of Israel from Hamas forces. A large number of fake news appeared on both sides of the conflict, but one stood out in the Serbian media, and that is the news about the statement of the Israeli Defense Minister which is totally fabricated.

The mentioned article talks about the non-existent statement related to non-compliance with the rules of war where Minister Yaov Galan indicated that there will be no responsibility for the actions of the Israeli army. This includes committing genocide and various types of war crimes, the author states. In the second part, this statement is then compared to the Nazi leaders, Adolf Hitler and Ante Gotovina, explaining that even they did not publicly announce war crimes.

This news was also refuted by the disinformation detection program Myth Detector, which stated that the quote attributed to Yoav Gallant was fabricated. In a speech broadcast on October 10, the Israeli Defense Minister said that Israel has gone on the full offensive and will change the reality in the Gaza Strip, yet he never mentioned the abolition of the rules of war and the complete release of the responsibility of the Israeli army.

Similar misinformation is also reported by the Pravda portal, saying that members of Hamas used paragliders to go 40 km deep into Israel as far as the Tsalim base, where they carried out attacks. This is, of course, another piece of news that deviates from real events and facts. Paragliders were used by members of Hamas, but not for such attacks deep into the territory.

Following the example of the article from Pravda, reports that there was a bombing of Jerusalem itself, in which a mosque with a Muslim population was hit. Another in a series of fake news, which also claims that there is a civil war in Jerusalem between the army and the Palestinian population. None of the mentioned information is supported by sources, but old recordings that serve to spread misinformation.

In the continuation of the demonization of the West and Israel, the news of the Forum Istok portal stands out, it discusses the units of foreign mercenaries from Ukraine, leaving Ukraine and moving to Israel. This claim was made by the director of the Russian FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, who said that members of 13 private military companies are fighting against Russia in Ukraine, and it was allegedly confirmed by the Ukrainian media, which added that these groups are now moving to Israel, where they will fight with Hamas.

The following breaking news was reported by B92, about a suspected Israeli army attack on civilians. Allegedly, the Israeli army opened fire on civilians in cars during the confrontation with terrorists who had driven in from Gaza, however, this is not the case in the video published on the B92 portal. It remains to be seen whether a different video was meant in the B92 portal editorial office.

The Webtribune portal conveys in its own style a text that says that Israel created Hamas as a pretext for a war against the Palestinians. This article is supported by the opinion of Henry Livingston who writes for independent media in the United States. Although it is not mentioned who exactly Henry Livingston is, his opinion is that Israel has created an artificial enemy so that peace processes will never happen, stating that this is in the interest of the right-wing in Israel who have long been planning to expand Israel’s borders.

On the other hand, Russia Today published an article entitled “NATO weapons delivered to Kiev may be used against Israel.”

Namely, the adviser to the head of the DNR (Donetsk People’s Republic) Jan Gagin claims that Israel transferred weapons to Ukraine, which were allegedly resold to terrorists around the world. According to Gagin, these weapons were eventually used against Israeli soldiers. He warns that weapons-reselling scheme could potentially supply other radical organizations in Europe and the United States. As in many previous disinformation narratives, the Russian disinformation methodology in this context relies on creating suspicion and skepticism among Euro-Atlantic partners regarding weapons.

Author: Đorđe Terek