Fact check: Netanyahu did not give a speech thanking Hamas for uniting Israel

·3 min read

The claim: Netanyahu gave a 'last chance' speech to leaders of Hamas

As unrest and violence escalate in Israel and the Gaza Strip, a fictional speech that has been attributed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is spreading on social media.

According to a May 11 Facebook post, Netanyahu gave a speech in front of the Israeli parliament and addressed his comments to the "leaders and operatives" of Hamas.

"Whatever disputes we Jews may have with each other, we now know that we have one common goal: we will defeat you," the post reads. "But we are offering you now one last chance. Within 24 hours, all rocket fire - and I mean all rocket fire - will cease. Completely. Forever."

The speech continues: "We will continue to keep the door open to allow you to surrender gracefully. The moment you announce that you are laying down arms, we will halt our advance, and there we will draw our new borders."

The speech sounds like an escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which resulted from weeks of confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem. But the speech is fictional – it originated in a 2014blog post.

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USA TODAY has reached out to the Facebook user who shared the post for comment.

Speech is fictional, originated in 2014 blog post

The Facebook post's caption reads: "ATTENTION: *** Breaking news *** Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just made the following speech in front of the Knesset: ..."

That's wrong. The speech is fictional and originated on a blog called "Free Thought" in 2014.

The Facebook post includes all of the fictional speech except the last line, which reads: "... and then I awoke, and it was all a dream..."

The blog's author, Shaul B, knows the speech is fictional. He has addressed the fictional speech going viral in his other blog posts.

In a 2014 post titled "I go viral!" Shaul B said one of his "private ambitions" had been to start a viral internet hoax, adding that he was "fascinated by what makes people forward/like/share information that is obviously fake."

"In a moment of frustration at Israel's lame leadership, I penned the speech I wish we could hear from our Prime Minister," he wrote in the blog post.

More recently, in a May 13 blog post titled "I created a monster," Shaul B addressed his fictional speech going viral again amid the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

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"It seems that every time Israel goes into yet another round of fighting with Hamas, my monster, seemingly of its own volition, creaks open the top of its coffin, lurches out into cyberspace, and storms around the world, now in multiple languages," he wrote.

Our rating: False

The claim that Netanyahu gave a "last chance" speech to leaders of Hamas is FALSE, based on our research. The speech the Facebook post attributes to Netanyahu is fictional and originated in 2014 on the blog "Free thought." The author has written other blog posts about the fictional speech going viral.

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Speech attributed to Netanyahu is an internet hoax

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