It has been two weeks since the Hamas-led attacks in Israel, and Israel’s subsequent assault on Gaza.
In that time, so much information has been flying around, so many claims and counter-claims, that it’s been nearly impossible to think straight, let alone to keep things clear.
It has also been oppressively depressing to keep track of.
But let’s talk about October 7th again: because it’s important to keep looking at the details of what happened that day. And because, as we’ll see, it isn’t at all as straightforward as we’re being led to believe it is.
The business of the ’40 Beheaded Babies’ is something I’ve explored in a separate article entirely.
But to start with, very little has emerged since October 7th to sway me away from the idea that elements within the Israeli state may have wilfully allowed Hamas and its affiliates to go on the rampage of a fortnight ago.
Which, as I said then, doesn’t absolve Hamas or its affiliate fighters of any guilt for any murderous acts apparently committed: but it does call into question the Israeli state’s motives and actions and the underlying reality of what has been unfolding.
I won’t reiterate any of last week’s article again: it can be read here.
But the claim by Egyptian officials that they had warned Netanyahu of the attack 10 days before it happened seems to have been subsequently backed up by officials in the United States, as reported here.
The uncharacteristic lack of protection offered to Israeli citizens on October 7th remains the glaring anomaly in this whole narrative, along with the sheer level of intelligence failure.
But that anomaly has been swiftly swept aside by mass media in favour of calculated propaganda and cherry-picked talking points instead. It seems they’d rather we focused on inane wordplay distractions instead: like arguing over ‘proportionate response’, debating ‘moral equivalences’, repeating evocations of the Holocaust whenever possible, and so on… instead of looking back at the events of October 7th itself and asking significant questions.
Because, even more curious than the spectacular security and intelligence failure of October 7th, some Israeli eyewitness reports have started to paint a different picture of the events: including some who have stated that it was Israeli forces that were responsible for a number of the deaths of Israeli victims.
One such survivor of the Kibbutz Be’eri massacre has said that her Palestinian captors didn’t actually kill anyone: but that it was Israeli soldiers who arrived and immediately began shelling that resulted in the dead bodies of both Israeli captives and Palestinian fighters.
Additional claims are that some victims (including at the music festival) were essentially killed in crossfire, rather than outright massacred.
Granted, these are specific accounts from specific locations, and do not necessarily represent what was happening in all the other locations: but if, even in just these specific incidents, it was Israeli forces responsible for Israeli deaths, it really does raise questions about what really happened overall.
Israeli survivors have no reason to lie about this.
Remarkably, Yasmin Porat even said that her Palestinian captors were treating her and the other captives humanely and promising not to kill anyone. Porat was speaking to an Israeli radio station when she said that Israeli forces “eliminated everyone, including the hostages”. She also said there was tank shelling by the IDF.
This account stands in stark contrast to the overall image being portrayed of these events.
In fact, we know that Israeli tanks were shelling houses in the kibbutz. Which arguably raises questions about later images of charred or burnt bodies shown to the media as proof of Hamas brutality. These were the images shown to the likes of Biden and Blinken, where they spoke of charred bodies and infants, and presumably the same images and videos shown to select journalists in recent days.
One eyewitness from Kibbutz Be’eri said that Israeli forces were ‘shelling houses with all their occupants inside in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages… At least 112 Be’eri people were killed…’
Let’s be clear. We know Hamas and other fighters killed numerous Israelis – that isn’t contested. But if it’s also being suggested that Israeli soldiers also killed some Israelis, then this is yet another problem with the narrative.
It is also reported, for example here, that Israeli forces in some cases shot dead Israeli citizens mistaken for Hamas terrorists.
So, naturally, this leads to a necessary question: how many of the Israeli victims overall were actually killed in crossfire or – directly or indirectly – by the actions of Israeli forces, rather than massacred by Palestinian fighters?
The distinction is hugely important, especially if the numbers turn out to be significant. But, that I know of, no major media in the West has picked up on these eyewitness accounts of these Israeli survivors.
Bearing in mind how concerted the propaganda language has been regarding the events of October 7th (comparisons to the Holocaust, the talk of ‘Israel’s 9/11’, the 40 decapitated babies, etc), contradictory narratives from Israeli survivors is going to become a problem: or at least it would become a problem if the news media bothered to pick up on any of it.
But it’s hardly surprising that this isn’t happening.
Interestingly, on October 24th, one of the elderly women hostages released by Hamas for health reasons, was taken before the Israeli media to speak about her ordeal. If they were hoping for her to tell shocking stories of her two-week ordeal at the hands of barbaric terrorists, they must’ve been very disappointed, even dismayed, when Yocheved Lifshitz told the press, ‘They were very friendly towards us. They took care of us. The people were very friendly. They were very concerned about us…’
Elderly Israeli captive, released for humanitarian reasons, turns to squeeze Hamas fighter's hand before she departs. Ruins Israel's "savages" narrative with one little gesture. pic.twitter.com/rMLVDHKFFw
— Sharmine Narwani (@snarwani) October 23, 2023
Lifshitz was even shown apparently warmly taking the hand of one of her Hamas captors before being handed over to the Red Cross.
Now, of course, she also talked abut the trauma of her experience and the violent nature of being forcibly kidnapped in the first place: but the elderly woman’s account seems to match somewhat with the picture painted by the aforementioned Kibbutz Be’eri survivor: and contradicts some of the general narrative being upheld of barbaric terrorist hordes raping women and beheading babies.
Again, I’m not saying the Hamas killings didn’t take place: clearly they did. But it’s become obvious that the extent or nature of the crimes has been exaggerated in many cases (again, 40 beheaded babies, for example) in order to maximise both the outrage in Israel and the sympathy/cover internationally.
It also has to be borne in mind that the sources for most of the more extreme claims about Hamas brutality are Israeli armed forces: which most would agree isn’t an impartial or reliable source. Such was the case with the beheaded babies story, as highlighted previously here, which came from an Israeli unit giving select journalists a guided tour of the Kfar Azar scene (and for that matter, originated specifically with an extreme Zionist settler).
In some cases, evidence is contested: and, increasingly, there’s a grey area concerning attribution of blame.
Most of the video footage recently released by Israel purporting to show irrefutable proof of Hamas’s brutal crimes actually mostly shows encounters between the Palestinian fighters and Israeli security personnel: rather than Hamas militants slaughtering civilians.
I’ve been through some of these videos, and though there’s some footage of fighters entering houses where damage seems to have been inflicted, there isn’t anything (as far as I’ve seen) showing Hamas fighters actually killing residents. Here’s one example. This one is from The Telegraph.
Mostly, the footage that has been released is ambiguous, in that it could be showing Hamas fighters exchanging fire with Israeli security forces. In most cases, it isn’t visibly clear who or what they’re shooting at.
And the photos shown by Netanyahu to Biden and others, or shared with journalists, as far as we know show general damage and dead bodies… some of which conceivably could’ve been killed by the aforementioned shelling or caught in crossfire.
As for the footage shown to select journalists, the explanation seems to be that the horrors revealed are too terrible to be shown to the general public. Which is fine and understandable: but it also has the whiff to it of the 40 decapitated babies and the IDF’s claim that it was ‘disrespectful to the dead’ to show any evidence of the atrocity (again, see previous article).
Again, I’m not saying Hamas didn’t murder civilians: I’m certain that they (or fighters affiliated to them) *did*. But there’s certainly ambiguity, especially when it comes to the evidence being released by Israel.
Over 100 reporters where invited to a special IDF 🇮🇱 briefing
They where given restricted access to unpublished photos and evidence regarding the Hamas atrocities
This was their reaction. pic.twitter.com/9NZnbsZjoQ
— The Consultant (@TheConsultant18) October 24, 2023
Some of the 100 select journalists apparently shown the most harrowing footage from the attacks say they’ve seen irrefutable evidence of the Hamas massacres and they describe some: which is fine, but we can only take their word for it.
Which means there is (and will remain) a grey area.
Again, which is not to refute that Hamas and its accomplices didn’t kill many Israelis. But there’s substantial grey area now as to who killed who and where: and what the proportion is of victims who were not in fact killed by Hamas.
A logic issue also arises: which is that, if Hamas’s goal was to acquire hostages to take back to Gaza, why would they needlessly kill 1400 civilians… that could’ve instead been taken as hostages? Why take some as hostages but outright murder others?
Of course it could’ve just been a case of mayhem, where different attackers had different intentions.
But the major media and political bias has been to follow the Israeli state’s lead entirely in depicting the events of October 7th in a very specific manner, despite mounting ambiguity in some cases.
For example, we are constantly told about the 1400 civilians killed: not only without reference to how many of those might’ve killed by Israeli forces, but also without accounting for how many of those were in fact Israeli security, military or police forces and not actually civilians.
Likewise, with the hostages taken back to Gaza, they are always referred to as civilians: but we know that some of them are Israeli soldiers or security personnel. Why is it not being specified how many of them are, strictly speaking, opposition *combatants* rather than civilians?
But, in the case of both the Israeli victims and the hostages, the misleading impression is being maintained that they are *all* civilians: which we already know isn’t strictly true.
Also, if it’s true that Israeli forces killed a number of Israeli victims, it also might not bode well for the hostages still being held in Gaza. Others elsewhere have rightly cited Israel’s ‘Hannibal Directive‘, whereby Israeli hostages are considered better dead than allowed to become a liability.
There does seem to be a baffling lack of concern by the Israeli government for the hostages being held in Gaza: as of today (October 29th), Hamas has reportedly offered to release *all* hostages in exchange for Hamas inmates in Israeli jails: but this offer has been refused, and Israel is instead marching on with the next stage of its military operation.
What’s extraordinary in that context is that the two elderly ladies released by Hamas in recent days were allegedly rejected by Israel: and Hamas had to instead hand them over to the Red Cross in Egypt, from where they were transported eventually back in to Israel. Israel denies this, dismissing it as Hamas propaganda. The matter remains unclear.
Moreover, coverage of the media event in which elderly Yocheved Lifshitz was asked to talk about her ordeal with Hamas was framed somewhat dishonestly by some international media (and presumably even more so in Israeli domestic media).
In the video below, for example, her somewhat more humanising comments about her kidnappers are entirely omitted, and the statements that fit better with the prevailing ‘human animals’ narrative are amplified instead.
Again, let’s be clear: none of this is a defense of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or any of the disgusting acts committed on October 7th.
They certainly killed people and severely traumatised others. And, needless to say, these elderly women shouldn’t have been fucking kidnaped in the first place.
I am not (and have never been) a defender of these groups. And I maintain that Hamas and the Islamist groups were empowered (by Israel itself, in large part) to destroy the Palestinian cause and end the Palestinian national movement.
As I’ve said here for years, Hamas and co generally service a Zionist agenda and not a Palestinian one.
But the carefully-managed narrative of these events has already cemented into an official history in the mainstream commentary and the widespread public perception… despite significant ambiguity concerning what really happened on October 7th and the immediate aftermath.
Despite what the prevailing propaganda campaign and information warfare would have us believe, it is not clear precisely what happened. We only have *some* of the picture: the rest is an ongoing game of narrative maintenance, perception control and media management.