Omar, Tlaib Silent After Evidence Contradicts Their Claims That Israel Killed Hundreds in Gaza Hospital Blast

'Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital killing 500 Palestinians,' Tlaib said

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
October 18, 2023

Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) rushed to blame Israel and parrot claims from Hamas following a Tuesday blast at a Gazan hospital. Now that evidence has emerged contradicting those claims, the lawmakers are silent.

"Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital killing 500 Palestinians (doctors, children, patients)," Tlaib said shortly after news broke of an explosion at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. "This is what happens when you refuse to facilitate a ceasefire & help de-escalate." Omar echoed Tlaib's rhetoric, saying, "The [Israel Defense Forces] reportedly blowing up one of the few places the injured and wounded can seek medical treatment and shelter during a war is horrific."

It did not take long for evidence to emerge contradicting those claims. The morning after the attack, footage from Gaza showed the hospital intact, with damage largely confined to the building's parking lot. Shortly thereafter, both President Joe Biden and senior U.S. officials cited independent data showing that a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket—not an Israeli missile—misfired and hit the hospital.

Both Tlaib and Omar, however, have remained silent. Both of the lawmakers' statements remain live on X, formerly Twitter, and neither returned requests for comments. Tlaib on Wednesday morning was nonetheless active on social media, with the Democrat sharing a post from the left-wing Working Families Party urging members of Congress to "call for ceasefire and de-escalation" in Gaza.

Tlaib and Omar's claims that Israel bombed the Gaza hospital—and that hundreds of Palestinians died in the attack—came from Hamas directly. The terror group made those assertions Tuesday evening through its "health ministry."

While an accurate death toll from the blast is not yet known, daytime footage from the hospital suggests that Hamas's hasty death toll of at least 500 is not accurate. The blast's impact site extended mere meters, photos show, and even an awning next to the hospital parking lot remains standing. The hospital's chapel, meanwhile, only took damage to some of its stained-glass windows.

Even Murtaza Hussain, a writer at left-wing outlet The Intercept, acknowledged Wednesday that daytime footage from the hospital "does not look consistent" with an Israeli airstrike.

"In daylight it's clear that the hospital building itself was not leveled but rather the cars in the parking lot may have ignited," Hussain said.

Tlaib and Omar are known for making anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements. Omar, for example, has argued that Israel "hypnotized the world," said that U.S. support for Israel is "all about the Benjamins," and compared the United States and Israel to terrorist organizations. Omar in February was removed from her post on the House Foreign Affairs Committee due to those statements.