Numerous false claims in recent op-ed require correction or clarifcation

"Third, Hamas has not diverted “hundreds of billions of dollars in international aid to build” military installations. There is no evidence to support this wild figure. This is a pure fabrication. If I am wrong, please provide clear evidence to support the assertion."

April 1,2024


Victor Davis Hanson, Toronto Sun

Adrienne Batra, Toronto Sun

Dear Victor Davis Hanson and Adrienne Batra,

I’m writing to alert you to factual errors in the recent article, “HANSON: Explaining the truths behind the lies in Gaza.”

Hanson writes Hamas “summarily executed its Palestinian Authority rivals. Hamas cancelled all future scheduled elections. It established a dictatorship and diverted hundreds of billions of dollars in international aid to build a vast underground labyrinth of military installations.” There are three false statements here.

First, Hamas did not execute its rivals. After Hamas was elected in what were widely reported to be fair elections by the international monitors who witnessed them, there was a power struggle between Hamas and Fatah. Actors on both sides were killed in the struggle that ensued, but there is no sense in which Hamas merely executed all Fatah members. Indeed, Fatah’s struggle against Hamas was instigated and supported by the United States, as is well documented.[1]

Second, Hamas did not “cancel all future scheduled elections.” There were no further scheduled elections in Gaza. Unless you have any evidence of this claim, please retract it. The Palestinian Authority is in charge of scheduling elections, but has cancelled them in the past. Hamas remains extremely popular in much of Palestine and has been open to participating in elections. 

Third, Hamas has not diverted “hundreds of billions of dollars in international aid to build” military installations. There is no evidence to support this wild figure. This is a pure fabrication. If I am wrong, please provide clear evidence to support the assertion.

Please correct all three of these outright false claims.

You write that Hamas “sent more than 7,000 rockets into Israeli cities for the sole purpose of killing non-combatants.” Hundreds of those killed in the October 7 attacks were Israeli soldiers and police. Hamas attacked numerous Israeli military bases with ground forces and rockets. It is simply not true that the “sole purpose” of the Hamas attack was to kill non-combatants. It is well documented in the battle plans discovered by the Israeli military that Hamas was targeting military infrastructure. The New York Times reported that one of Hamas’s “most important objectives” was to “overrun the Israeli military base in Re’im.” This information was based on documents written by Hamas.[2]

Please correct the false statement that Hamas’s “sole” target were civilians.

You write that “Prior to Oct. 7, there was a de facto three-state solution, given that Israel, the West Bank and Gaza were all separate states ruled by their own governments, two of which were illegitimate without scheduled elections.” While it may be the author’s opinion that there was a “de fact three-state solution,” it is false to claim that Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank were all “states ruled by their own governments.”

First, the Occupied West Bank and Gaza are not states.

Second, while Hamas governs the Gaza Strip, it is still under Israeli “effective control.” Even though Israel “disengaged” from the Gaza Strip in 2005, evacuating its illegal settlements and removing its ground military forces, experts in multiple fields have maintained that Israel still bears the responsibilities of a military occupier under international law.  The Fourth Geneva Convention, among other instruments of international humanitarian, details important responsibilities of the occupier in situations of war and occupation, foremost the protection of civilians.

For example, experts including United Nations fact-finding missions, Human Rights Watch, and the International Committee of the Red Cross have concluded that Israel has not ended its role as an occupying power. Under international law, an occupation does not depend on whether a foreign power has a direct ground troop presence in a territory, but on whether it asserts “effective control.” This is a widely held position. The UN’s Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict (a.k.a. “Goldstone Report”) determined unambiguously in 2009 that Israel exerted “effective control” over the Gaza Strip, and therefore continued to be an occupying power:

“Israel has without doubt at all times relevant to the mandate of the Mission exercised effective control over the Gaza Strip. The Mission is of the view that the circumstances of this control establish that the Gaza Strip remains occupied by Israel. The provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention therefore apply at all relevant times with regard to the obligations of Israel towards the population of the Gaza Strip.”[3]

Similarly, earlier in 2023, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reaffirmed its longstanding position that it:

“Considers Gaza to remain occupied territory on the basis that Israel still exercises key elements of authority over the strip, including over its borders (airspace, sea and land – at the exception of the border with Egypt). Even though Israel no longer maintains a permanent presence inside the Gaza Strip, it continues to be bound by certain obligations under the law of occupation that are commensurate with the degree to which it exercises control over it.”[4]

The United Nations and its various bodies continue to assert that Gaza is occupied Palestinian territory.

Third, the Occupied West Bank is occupied territory according to international law, and Israel has administrative control of much of the region. In this sense, neither Gaza nor the West Bank are “ruled by their own governments,” but are rather have limited rule from their respective governments and significant rule by Israel.  

Please correct the false claim that Gaza and the West Bank are “ruled by their own governments.”

Next, you write that “the [US] administration promises to give more aid to Gaza after the Oct. 7 Hamas massacres than it gave to Gaza before Hamas’s attack.”[5] This is again not true. The United States recently stopped funding UNRWA, which will dramatically reduce US contributions to Gazan humanitarian aid.

Please correct the claim that the US now gives more aid to Gaza after October 7 than before.


Jason Toney

Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

[1]The Gaza Bombshell,” Vanity Fair, David Rose, April, 2008,

[2] “Israel Knew Hamas’s Attack Plan More Than a Year Ago,” New York Times, November, 2023,,7.,out%20that%20objective%20on%20Oct.

[3] United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict (2009),, para 276.

[4] International Committee of the Red Cross, “What does the law say about the responsibilities of the Occupying Power in the occupied Palestinian territory?,” March 28, 2023,

[5] “US pause on funding UN's main Palestinian relief agency may become permanent,”  Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis, Reuters, March, 2024,,7%20Hamas%20attack.