You are currently viewing October 7th: Separating Fact from Fiction in a War-Torn Landscape of Gaza

October 7th: Separating Fact from Fiction in a War-Torn Landscape of Gaza

New intel’s dropping like a bomb, suggesting that almost half of the Israeli casualties were in the combatant ranks. But that’s not all; word on the street is that some of Israel’s own civilians might’ve caught friendly fire. And let’s not forget the wild tales spread by Tel Aviv about ‘Hamas horrors’ – all part of the smokescreen for their brutal air assault on innocent Palestinian folks in Gaza. It’s a real head-scratcher, folks

Two weeks after the high-octane Hamas offensive kicked off in Israel on October 7, the puzzle pieces of that tumultuous day, revealing who perished and who’s accountable, are finally snapping into place.

In stark contrast to Israel’s narrative of a massive civilian bloodbath, fresh data dished out by the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz shows that just about half of those Israelis who met their fate on that eventful day were, in reality, combatants – either soldiers or cops.

During these past two weeks, Western media had a field day bombarding us with reports alleging that Hamas singlehandedly snuffed out roughly 1,400 Israeli civilian lives during their military blitz on October 7. These reports weren’t just news; they were emotion-soaked tinder, priming the pump for Israel’s full-throttle blitz on the Gaza Strip, and it was the innocent civilian population there that paid the highest toll.

But hold on, the picture painted by these reports differs significantly from the detailed casualty stats served up by Israeli daily Haaretz as of October 23. It dishes the dirt on the 683 Israelis who met their end during the Hamas-led onslaught, complete with their monikers and where they met their maker on October 7.

Shockingly, out of this somber roll call, a whopping 48.4 percent, or 331 souls, have been outed as soldiers and law enforcement officers, even including a sizeable contingent of female warriors. Another 13 names on that list are linked to rescue services, while the remaining 339 are deemed civilians.

Bear in mind, though, that this list doesn’t cover the full spectrum of casualties and encompasses only about half of the total Israeli death toll. Nonetheless, it shouts loud and clear that nearly half of the lives snuffed out in the chaos were undeniably Israeli combatants.

Now, here’s a bombshell: There’s no recorded case of children under the age of three meeting their end in this dataset. This directly contradicts the Israeli story suggesting that Palestinian resistance fighters were ruthlessly targeting infants. Among the 683 casualties listed, only seven fell within the 4 to 7 age bracket, with nine more falling between 10 and 17. The remaining 667 casualties were grown-ups.

But the kicker is when we stack up these numbers against the staggering toll of Palestinian civilians and children who lost their lives due to Israeli bombardment in the two weeks following those fateful events. The scales tip dramatically, with over 5,791 Palestinian lives lost, including 2,360 children and 1,292 women, not to mention more than 18,000 injured. The differences in these figures are striking and deeply troubling.

Reliving the Scene

The daring operation led by Hamas, dubbed Al-Aqsa Flood, kicked off with a bang at around 6:30 AM Palestine time on October 7. Sirens blared, shattering the peace in occupied Jerusalem, signaling the start of an extraordinary event in the 75-year history of the occupied state.

According to the spokesperson of Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, about 1,500 Palestinian fighters busted through the tough Gaza-Israel separation barrier.

But it wasn’t just Hamas in the game; fighters from various factions, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), also crossed the armistice line, alongside unaffiliated Palestinian folks.

As the jaw-dropping nature of this resistance operation became clear, hundreds of videos flooded social media. Most of these videos have been peeped at by The Cradle, showing fallen Israeli soldiers and settlers, intense gunfights among different groups, and Israelis getting scooped up and taken into captivity in Gaza.

These videos either came from the phones of Israelis or were dropped by Palestinian fighters recording their own moves. However, the real shockers didn’t hit until hours later.

Claims of ‘Hamas Atrocities’ Without Evidence

Aviva Klompas, a former speechwriter for the Israeli mission to the UN, was among the first notable Israelis to spin the yarn that there were reports of “Israeli girls being raped and their bodies dragged through the street.”

She made this claim on a social media platform at 9:18 PM Palestine time on October 7. However, an op-ed Klompa dropped with Newsweek at 12:28 AM on October 8 didn’t breathe a word about sexual violence.

Klompas is also the co-founder of Boundless Israel, a “think-action tank” committed to revving up Israel education and taking bold collective action against anti-Semitism. It’s an openly Zionist charitable outfit that’s all about pumping up Israeli stories on social media.

The single case tossed into the mix as proof of rape featured a young German-Israeli chick named Shani Louk, who was caught on camera lying face down in the back of a pickup truck and was widely assumed to be sleeping with the fishes.

It’s still a mystery whether the folks filmed with Louk in the Gaza-bound vehicle were card-carrying Hamas members, as they weren’t rocking uniforms or insignias tied to the Al-Qassam troops featured in other Hamas videos. Some were even rocking casual civilian threads and sandals.

Later on, Louk’s mama claimed to have the receipts showing her daughter was still ticking but had taken a heavy knock on the noggin. This lines up with info released by Hamas, indicating that Louk was getting patched up for her battle wounds at some unnamed Gaza hospital.

Now, here’s where it gets real messy. On the day the rape rumors jumped off, the Israelis weren’t tuned into this info. Their armed forces hadn’t crashed the party in many, if not most, of the spots freed up by the resistance. They were still getting down and dirty in shootouts on multiple fronts.

But those rape rumors started taking on a life of their own, with even the big kahuna, U.S. President Joe Biden, talking smack during a speech a few days later. He was peddling the line that Israeli gals were getting “raped, roughed up, and paraded like trophies” by Hamas fighters. Here’s the kicker: The Forward, in an article on October 11, gave the lowdown that the Israeli military copped to having zero evidence of those claims at the time.

After that, the Israeli military started cooking up its own stories about decapitations, chopping off limbs, and sexual attacks. Reuters, keeping it real, called out the fact that “the military honchos overseeing the ID process didn’t have any hard evidence in the form of pics or medical records.” Up to now, there ain’t a shred of credible proof backing these supposed atrocities.

Then, there’s the wild stuff, like the tall tale about Hamas “beheading 40 babies,” causing a ruckus and making front page news in a bunch of Western news joints. Even Biden was talking about “confirmed pics of terrorists beheading babies.” Turns out those tales can be traced back to David Ben Zion, a reserve settler and soldier, who’d already stirred the pot by instigating violent clashes with Palestinians and dropping lines about wiping out the West Bank town of Huwara. The crazy part? No receipts were ever brought forth to back up these claims, and even the White House had to put the brakes on Biden’s big talk, admitting he never peeped at any such pics.

The Hamas Game Plan

When it comes to credible evidence, there’s not much to support the idea that Palestinian fighters had a plan to intentionally harm or off unarmed Israeli civilians on October 7. The available footage shows them mainly locking horns with armed Israeli forces, resulting in the demise of hundreds of occupation soldiers. As Abu Obeida, the spokesperson for the Qassam Brigades, pointed out on October 12:

“The Al-Aqsa Flood operation aimed to wipe out the Gaza Division, an Israeli army unit on Gaza’s borders, which was hit at 15 different points, followed by assaults on 10 additional military checkpoints. We went after the Zikim site and several other settlements beyond the Gaza Division headquarters.”

Hamas Deputy Head of the Political Bureau, Saleh Al-Arouri, emphasized in an interview after the operation that they aimed to capture Israeli prisoners that they could swap for the roughly 5,300 Palestinian prisoners locked up in Israeli detention centers, including many women and kids.

Both sides are in on this game. Since kicking off its military assault on Gaza, Israel has rounded up over 1,200 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. So far, there have been 38 prisoner exchange deals between the resistance groups and Tel Aviv, deals that Israelis often resist up to the last minute.

As these testimonies keep trickling in, reports are surfacing that Israeli authorities have turned up the heat with the mistreatment, torture, and even killing of Palestinian detainees in their custody. This is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, something that, ironically, a non-state actor like Hamas seems to have followed to the letter.

Regarding the events of October 7, there are indeed some videos showing potentially unarmed Israelis who met their fate in their vehicles or at facility entrances to allow Palestinian troops access.

Other videos depict fighters getting into gunfights with armed Israeli forces, with unarmed Israelis caught in the crossfire. There are also videos showing fighters firing shots toward houses and tossing grenades into fortified areas. Eyewitness accounts also suggest that grenades were thrown into bomb shelters, though it’s unclear who was behind it.

Even at the Israeli “peace rave,” which has been cited as the deadliest attack carried out by Palestinian fighters during their operation, videos surfaced showing Israeli forces opening fire into a crowd of unarmed civilians, aiming at targets they believed to be Hamas members. ABC News also reported that an Israeli tank had rolled up to the scene.

An Israeli Massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri?

ABC News reported on the events at Be’eri Kibbutz and showed pictures of artillery pieces that appeared to be Israeli munitions outside a wrecked home. The reporter, David Muir, noted that Hamas fighters, covered in plastic bags, were discovered in the aftermath.

Videos of the scene also revealed homes that seemed to have been hit by munitions that Hamas fighters didn’t have. Muir reported that about 14 people were held hostage in a building by Palestinian fighters.

An article in Hebrew from Haaretz, published on October 20 and only available in English in an article on Mondoweiss, tells a starkly different story of what happened at Be’eri on that day. A resident of the kibbutz, whose partner was killed in the chaos, shared chilling new details:

“His voice shakes when he recalls his partner, who was trapped in their home shelter at the time. According to him, only on Monday night (October 9) and only after field commanders made tough decisions — including shelling houses with everyone inside to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages — did the IDF finally regain control of the kibbutz. The cost was horrific: at least 112 people in Be’eri were killed, with others kidnapped. On the day this report was written, 11 days after the massacre, the bodies of a mother and her son were found in one of the ruined houses. It’s believed that more bodies are still buried in the rubble.”

Photo evidence of the destruction in Be’eri supports his account. Only the heavy-duty munitions of the Israeli army could’ve laid waste to residential homes like this.

Hamas’ Behavior: Proof vs. Accusations

Yasmin Porat, a survivor from Kibbutz Be’eri, revealed in an interview on an Israeli radio show hosted by the state broadcaster Kan that Israeli forces “took out everyone, including the hostages.” She went on to describe the intense crossfire, even mentioning tank shelling.

Porat, who attended the Nova rave, recounted the humane treatment in various interviews with Israeli media. She explained that when she was held captive, Hamas fighters “watched over us.” They told her in Hebrew, “Look at me, we’re not going to harm you. We want to take you to Gaza. We won’t hurt you. So stay calm, you won’t die.” She added:

“They gave us something to drink here and there. When they saw we were nervous, they reassured us. It was terrifying, but they never treated us with violence. Fortunately, nothing happened to me like what I heard in the media.”

Increasingly, much to the dismay of some Israeli officials and news outlets, Israeli witnesses and survivors of the ordeal are testifying that they were treated well by Palestinian fighters. On October 24, Israeli state broadcaster Kan lamented that Yocheved Lifshitz, a released captive, was allowed to speak live on air. As she was handed over to Red Cross intermediaries, the elderly Israeli captive was captured on camera turning back to shake hands with her Hamas captor in a heartfelt farewell. Lifshitz’s live broadcast, where she talked about her two-week experience, further humanized her Hamas captors. She described her daily life with the fighters:

“They were very kind to us. They took care of us. We received medication and were treated. One of the men with us had a serious injury from a motorcycle accident. Their (Hamas) paramedics tended to his wounds, gave him medicine and antibiotics. They were friendly people. They kept the place very clean. They were very concerned about us.”

It’s crucial to acknowledge that in many reports provided by Western journalists on the ground, the primary source of information regarding the actions of Hamas fighters is the Israeli army, an active participant in the conflict.

Emerging evidence now suggests a significant likelihood, particularly due to the extensive infrastructure damage, that Israeli military forces might have intentionally killed captives, fired at incorrect targets, or misidentified Israelis as Palestinians in the heat of battle. When the sole source of information for a substantial claim is the Israeli army, it must be considered that they might have motives to conceal instances of friendly fire.

Friendly fire incidents involving the Israeli military were widespread, even in the days following the initial events. For instance, in Ashkelon (Askalan) on October 8, Israeli soldiers mistakenly killed a man they believed to be a Hamas fighter, later realizing he was, in fact, an Israeli citizen. This is just one of three instances of friendly fire in a single day, leading to the deaths of Israelis at the hands of their fellow soldiers.

Amid the fog of war, the conflicting parties in this crisis hold differing perspectives on what transpired during the initial raid and its aftermath. While it is not disputed that Palestinian armed groups inflicted significant losses on the Israeli military, there will undoubtedly be ongoing debates about other aspects of these events in the coming weeks and months.

An independent, impartial, and international investigation is urgently required. Such an inquiry should have access to information from all sides involved in the conflict. However, it’s unlikely that either the Israelis or the Americans would readily agree to this, raising suspicions that Tel Aviv may have sensitive information to safeguard.

In the meantime, the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza continues to endure ongoing, indiscriminate attacks using highly sophisticated heavy weaponry, living under the constant threat of forced and potentially irreversible displacement. The Israeli aerial onslaught was made possible, in part, due to the widespread circulation of unverified ‘Hamas atrocities’ stories by the media on and after October 7.