FACT CHECK: Did Benjamin Netanyahu Give A Speech Before The Knesset Thanking Hamas For Uniting Israel?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech before the Knesset in 2021 about how Hamas united Israel.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence Netanyahu ever said this quote. The speech, which has been circulating online since at least 2014, appears to have originated as a work of fiction.

Fact Check:

Clashes between the Israeli military and Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist militant group designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S., have resulted in the deaths of dozens, according to The Associated Press. The current violence has been going on for about a month, though recently escalated with Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket attacks, the outlet reported.

A post on Facebook shares a lengthy statement, purportedly given by Netanyahu in a 2021 speech to the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body, thanking Hamas for uniting the country. (RELATED: Was A Missing Palestinian Boy Kidnapped And Murdered By ‘Zionist Terrorists’?)

“To Ismail Haniya, and the leaders and operatives of Hamas,” Netanyahu’s alleged speech begins. “We, the people of Israel, owe you a huge debt of gratitude. You have succeeded where we have failed. Because never before, in the history of the modern State of Israel, has the Jewish people been so united, like one person with one heart.”

There is no evidence, however, Netanyahu ever gave this speech. Had he thanked Hamas for uniting the country, media outlets certainly would have reported on it, yet none have done so. A search of Netanyahu’s verified social media accounts turned up no results for the speech. Nor did a search of Netanyahu’s official government website.

Netanyahu appeared in the Knesset in April 2021, but it was for a “Unto Every Person There is a Name” ceremony about remembering victims of the Holocaust, according to a press release from Netanyahu’s office. A transcript of his remarks shows he never said the speech attributed to him in the Facebook post.

Check Your Fact found that the speech attributed to Netanyahu has been circulating online for several years. For example, a publication sent by an American Jewish congregation in 2014 highlighted the alleged speech. A July 2014 article on News24, a South African newspaper, also published the speech attributed to Netanyahu.

The claim Netanyahu gave the speech appears to stem from a blog post by the account Shaul B. The account published the speech July 8, 2014, but includes text at the bottom reading, “and then I awoke, and it was all a dream…” implying it was a work of fiction. In a May 13 update, Shaul B. said the original post was “openly fictional prose.”

“In 2014, I created a monster,” Shaul B wrote in the recent update. “I wrote a work of viral fake-news, completely unintentionally.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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