Several new testimonies by Israeli witnesses to the October 7 Hamas surprise attack on southern Israel adds to growing evidence that the Israeli military killed its own citizens as they fought to neutralize Palestinian gunmen.
Tuval Escapa, a member of the security team for Kibbutz Be’eri, set up a hotline to coordinate between kibbutz residents and the Israeli army. He told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that as desperation began to set in, “the commanders in the field made difficult decisions – including shelling houses on their occupants in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages.”
A separate report published in Haaretz noted that the Israeli military was “compelled to request an aerial strike” against its own facility inside the Erez Crossing to Gaza “in order to repulse the terrorists” who had seized control. That base was filled with Israeli Civil Administration officers and soldiers at the time.
These reports indicate that orders came down from the military’s high command to attack homes and and other areas inside Israel, even at the cost of many Israeli lives.
An Israeli woman named Yasmin Porat confirmed in an interview with Israel Radio that the military “undoubtedly” killed numerous Israeli noncombatants during gun battles with Hamas militants on October 7. “They eliminated everyone, including the hostages,” she stated, referring to Israeli special forces.
As David Sheen and Ali Abunimah reported in Electronic Intifada, Porat described “very, very heavy crossfire” and Israeli tank shelling, which led to many casualties among Israelis.
While being held by the Hamas gunmen, Porat recalled, “They did not abuse us. We were treated very humanely… No one treated us violently.”
She added, “The objective was to kidnap us to Gaza, not to murder us.”
According to Haaretz, the army was only able to restore control over Be’eri after admittedly “shelling” the homes of Israelis who had been taken captive. “The price was terrible: at least 112 Be’eri residents were killed,” the paper chronicled. “Others were kidnapped. Yesterday, 11 days after the massacre, the bodies of a mother and her son were discovered in one of the destroyed houses. It is believed that more bodies are still lying in the rubble.”
Much of the shelling in Be’eri was carried out by Israeli tank crews. As a reporter for the Israeli Foreign Ministry-sponsored outlet i24 noted during a visit to Be’eri, “small and quaint homes [were] bombarded or destroyed,” and “well-maintained lawns [were] ripped up by the tracks of an armored vehicle, perhaps a tank.”
Apache attack helicopters also figured heavily in the Israeli military’s response on October 7. Pilots have told Israeli media they scrambled to the battlefield without any intelligence, unable to differentiate between Hamas fighters and Israeli noncombatants, and yet determined to “empty the belly” of their war machines. “I find myself in a dilemma as to what to shoot at, because there are so many of them,” one Apache pilot commented.
Video filmed by uniformed Hamas gunmen makes it clear they intentionally shot many Israelis with Kalashnikov rifles on October 7. However, the Israeli government has not been content to rely on verified video evidence. Instead, it continues to push discredited claims of “beheaded babies” while distributing photographs of “bodies burned beyond recognition” to insist that militants sadistically immolated their captives, and even raped some before torching them alive.
The objective behind Tel Aviv’s atrocity exhibition is clear: to paint Hamas as “worse than ISIS” while cultivating support for the Israeli army’s ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has left over 7000 dead, including at least 2500 children at the time of publication. While hundreds of wounded children in Gaza have been treated for what a surgeon described as “fourth degree burns” caused by novel weapons, the Western media’s focus remains trained on Israeli citizens supposedly “burned alive” on October 7.
Yet the mounting evidence of friendly fire orders handed down by Israeli army commanders strongly suggests that at least some of the most jarring images of charred Israeli corpses, Israeli homes reduced to rubble and burned out hulks of vehicles presented to Western media were, in fact, the handiwork of tank crews and helicopter pilots blanketing Israeli territory with shells, cannon fire and Hellfire missiles.
Indeed, it appears that on October 7, Israel’s military resorted to the same tactics it has employed against civilians in Gaza, driving up the death toll of its own citizens with the indiscriminate use of heavy weapons.
Israel bombs its own base, nerve center of the Gaza siege
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood at 6 AM on October 7, quickly overwhelming the military bases from which Israel maintain its siege of the Gaza Strip. Chief among the objectives outlined by Hamas and PIJ was the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, including as many as 700 children passing through the system each year along with 1264 Palestinians currently being held without charges.
The 2011 swap for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured five years prior and released in exchange for 1027 prisoners, provided clear inspiration for Al-Aqsa Flood. By storming military bases and kibbutzes, the Palestinian militants aimed to capture as many Israeli soldiers and civilians as possible, and bring them back to Gaza alive.
The lighting assault immediately overwhelmed Israel’s Gaza Division. Video recorded from GoPro cameras mounted on the helmets of Palestinian fighters shows Israeli soldiers cut down in rapid succession, many still dressed in underwear and caught off guard. At least 340 active soldiers and intelligence officers were killed on October 7, accounting for close to 50% of confirmed Israeli deaths. The casualties included high ranking officers like Col. Jonathan Steinberg, the commander of Israel’s Nahal Brigade. (Many first responders and armed Israeli civilians were also killed).
The Erez Crossing is the home of a massive military and Coordination of Government Activities in the [Occupied] Territories (COGAT) facility which functions as the nerve center of Israel’s siege on Gaza. When it was overrun by Palestinian fighters on October 7 with droves of army bureaucrats inside, the Israeli military flew into a panic.
According to Haaretz, the commander of the Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, “entrenched himself in the division’s subterranean war room together with a handful of male and female soldiers, trying desperately to rescue and organize the sector under attack. Many of the soldiers, most of them not combat personnel, were killed or wounded outside. The division was compelled to request an aerial strike against the [Erez Crossing] base itself in order to repulse the terrorists.”
Video released by Israel’s COGAT ten days after the battle – and the Israeli airstrike – shows severe structural damage to the roof of the Erez Crossing facility.
Read the whole article at The Grayzone.