On Oct. 17, 2023, amid reports of a deadly explosion at the Ahli al-Arabi hospital in Gaza, users on X claimed that a day-old post from Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been deleted.
The Oct. 16 post from @IsraeliPM, the official government account of the prime minister's office, had read, "This is a struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle."
It's true that this post was removed from the account.
An archived version of the deleted post was flagged by Mohammed Zubair, a journalist who co-founded the Indian fact-checking publisher Alt News:
This tweet by Israel PM @IsraeliPM was deleted soon after a hospital in Gaza was bombed killing hundreds of people. #IsraelAttack #Gaza #Palestine
Here is Archive link to the deleted tweet. : https://t.co/qkv3dSckNX pic.twitter.com/zlIuflc6XO
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) October 17, 2023
Zubair's post said that Netanyahu's "children of darkness" post was removed after the explosion at the hospital. By reviewing the time of day when the blast was reported to have occurred and cross-referencing that timing with a timestamp of when the post was archived (as well as a little bit of time zone math), we were able to confirm that the post truly was deleted in the hours after the explosion.
We reached out to the prime minister's office to ask why the post was deleted and also inquired about if the explosion at the hospital influenced the decision to remove it. This story will be updated if we receive a response.
On the day before the hospital explosion – the same day the "children of darkness" line was posted – Netanyahu had also delivered the remark during a speech he had given in Hebrew at the opening of the winter session of the Israeli parliament. That speech, which was translated from Hebrew to English for partial publishing on the Israeli government's website, showed surrounding context that specifically mentioned Hamas – the group responsible for the surprise attack in Israel on Oct. 7:
Hamas is part of the axis of evil of Iran, Hezbollah and their minions. They seek to destroy the State of Israel and murder us all. They want to return the Middle East to the abyss of the barbaric fanaticism of the Middle Ages, whereas we want to take the Middle East forward to the heights of progress of the 21st century.
This is a struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle. We saw this in the horrors that the reprehensible murderers perpetrated in Kibbutz Be'eri, in Kfar Aza, in the other communities of the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and in the killing field of young people at a festival in Re'im.
Many people around the world now understand who stands against Israel. They understand that Hamas is ISIS. They understand that Hamas is the new version of Nazism. Just as the world united to defeat the Nazis and ISIS, so too will it unite to defeat Hamas.
Netanyahu's "children of darkness" remark can be watched in Hebrew in the following YouTube video around the 1:33:00 mark: