צה”ל מסתיר את מספר החיילים והקצינים שנפגעו (לפחות 10 נהרגו ועשרות נפצעו) מירי דו-צדדי
ישראל הפעילה את הוראת חניבעל ורצחה בני ערובה אזרחיים
Yediot Achronot reports that since the beginning of the Gaza war, friendly-fire incidents killed at least ten soldiers and officers, and wounded “dozens” of others during intense fighting in the first week of the war. 40 additional soldiers died in combat against Hamas, while 300 died on 10/7. A total of 400 IDF soldiers and officers have died. This is the highest Israeli loss of life in battle since the 1973 War.
14,000 Palestinians have been murdered, which includes 5,000 children and 3,500 women.
Israel’s 7th Eye is Israel’s most prominent media watchdog. It has compiled several media reports on incidents of friendly-fire between IDF forces inside Gaza; and intentional IDF attacks on targets that contained Israeli civilians, which left a significant number of dead and wounded.
The story was first reported by Haaretz, which noted police accounts that “some” of the festival goers at the kibbutz rave were “wounded” by a helicopter attack. Many media and social media users reported that Haaretz had confirmed they had been “killed,” which was based on a mistranslation. In the end, despite the translation error, the claims of deaths were correct, as you’ll see below. Nonetheless, it’s important to be precise in these situations and not jump the gun, because there is a veritable cottage industry to hasbara social media warriors seek to expose out such errors.
— Sayer Ji (@sayerjigmi) November 19, 2023
10/7 and Hannibal Directive
The Haaretz podcast linked above features an interview with IDF Col. (res) Nof Erez. He reveals the IDF response to the 10/7 attack was not only to counter-attack against Hamas, but also to kill Israeli hostages in Hamas vehicles which were fleeing toward Gaza. He called the IDF operation a “mass Hannibal.” It is invoked when a soldier is captured by Hamas. In order to prevent him becoming a prisoner who will be used to force an exchange of Palestinian prisoners, the army finds it preferable to kill its own soldier. Most of us would find this disgusting and cruel. But for Israelis it appears to be part of the ‘cost of doing business’ as a Spartan garrison state in the Middle East.
When asked by the interviewer whether he believed the drone operators and helicopter pilots fired at Hamas vehicles and killed Israeli captives unintentionally; or whether they fired intentionally knowing Israelis were in the vehicles, he replies: “The Hannibal Directive was probably deployed because once you detect a hostage situation, you say, ‘guys, this is Hannibal.'” In the past, the army trained for situations in which an individual soldiers might be captured, and how to destroy any vehicle in which he might be traveling. But on 10/7 there were hundreds of hostages in scores of vehicles. He calls it a “mass Hannibal,” in which the pilots attacked all Hamas vehicles, including those carrying hostages.
Erez’s testimony also refutes past claims by IDF officers that the Hannibal Directive was ended by the army and is no longer in effect. The interviewee confirms that it has been implemented for the past three decades and still is operational.
Separately, Kan aired a documentary interviewing IDF helicopter pilots, who were among the first on the scene on 10/7. One officer admitted that he fired on a group of fleeing people who he assumed were “terrorists.” He assessed at the time that such a group could not run if it contained a hostage. He fired on them. But admitted he could not be “100% certain” his judgment was right. He implied that he might have fired on Israeli civilians and killed or wounded them. Accounts below confirm that he and his fellow pilots did kill civilians.
Israeli tank kills grandmother and granddaughter
In another incident, a grandmother and granddaughter were held captive in their home in Kibbutz Revivim. The 12 year old girl was petrified and screaming. An Israeli eyewitness said there was a sudden “Boom,” as two Israeli tank shells struck the house. Then the screaming stopped. The grandmother’s body was found, but girl’s remains have yet to be discovered. At the cemetery, both were buried. But the granddaughter’s casket didn’t contain her body. Instead items of her clothing and other memorabilia reminding the family of her, were buried.
Haaretz reports house to house fighting against the Palestinian attackers there. It further confirms the army killed civilians. The headline quotes a solider who said: “We fought house to house, with tanks. We had no choice.”
In another community, Nahal Oz, the IDF killed Ron Posloshany, yet another civilian. Niv Ayos was misidentified as a “terrorist” as he drove to an army base to report for duty. When he identified his body, his father said there were 100 bullets.
“The commanders in the field made difficult decisions – including shelling houses on their occupants in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages.”https://t.co/TXKZTC2Yid pic.twitter.com/P7pMaHEon2
— Propaganda and co (@propandco) November 20, 2023
IDF commanders made this fateful order to put civilians in jeopardy, in order to liquidate “terrorists.” It’s a cold brutal calculation. But one that is not surprising given the Sparta-like culture of Israel, with its emphasis on sacrifice on behalf of the nation. It’s a society-wide culture of martyrdom.
There is a culture of denial involved as well. Israeli recovery workers who collected bodies of both Palestinian and Israeli dead, turned over the white body bags which had a marker indicating they were Israeli. On the other side they sprayed a red mark, indicating a “terrorist” in order to conceal the number of Israeli victims. It also indicates a disrespect toward the Israeli dead. Who would deliberately misidentify a victim in order to conceal their origin?
Subsequently, an Israeli army correspondent released a far more comprehensive media report (YouTube video above), which indicated that IDF forces fired on each other both on 10/7, and inside Gaza since the Israeli invasion began:
…Combat helicopters fired at Hamas jeeps that were traveling from Israel towards Gaza: “Inside these jeeps were kidnap victims. These combat helicopters did not know this, saw jeeps speeding and attacked them. The next day we [the journalist] reported bodies of abductees found in the perimeter area. Bodies that were also shot by Israeli combat vehicles. It could be tanks, it could be helicopters. They wanted to prevent the Palestinian fighters from returning to Gaza, without knowing civilians were also inside them.”
Though this was not mentioned, there is an IDF order of battle called the Hannibal Directive, which permits firing on IDF soldiers in battle, who are enemy captives. The intent is to prevent them from being used later as bargaining chips in a prisoner exchange with Hamas. It’s an astonishing admission that the cost of an Israeli life is less than avoiding a prisoner exchange. It is possible with the Directive in mind, some of the pilots firing on fleeing Palestinian vehicles did so knowing that Hannibal condoned or even encouraged it.
Israeli media self-censors to protect IDF
Friendly fire incidents resulting in injuries or death are sensitive for the IDF because it hates to admit mistakes. So Israeli media has shied away from reporting this at all. We have a hint of the full story in this account from Haaretz’s security correspondent, Amos Harel:
“The units move in dense formations, facing great danger, and the use of heavy fire also leads to the danger of friendly-fire between the [IDF] units…In addition, there are incidents related to grind of weeks of prolonged combat, and not an insignificant number of problems arising from a lack of operational discipline”.
This is a journalist couching bad news in oblique terms. Clearly, soldiers have fired on each other and there have been casualties. How many, where, and how the incidents happened, Harel doesn’t specify.
7th Eye spoke with Israeli military reporters who recounted how they were (and were not) reporting on the Gaza fighting:
Incidents of friendly fire…always arouse special interest, and military investigations into [such] incidents are highlighted in the media. However, in the current campaign, the media ignores them almost entirely, despite conversations with a number of military reporters indicating that they are aware of quite a number of such shooting incidents that occurred during the fighting.
The issue of friendly-fire was not mentioned in the IDF statements to the public, nor in relation to specific incidents in which soldiers were injured and even killed. Similarly, it was not covered by military reporters, except for veiled hints like that of the Harel. There have also been no reports of casualties among the security forces as a result of friendly fire shootings.
The captive Israeli media is more sensitive to covering the IDF’s ass, not offering the public “bad news,”and not disturbing grieving families with troubling details of their childrens’ unnecessary death.
Below, 7th Eye notes that military reporters told it that they were not prohibited from such reporting by the military censor, as often happens with such sensitive security stories, especially ones that might reflect poorly on the IDF. Rather they were self-censoring, a troubling phenomenon for journalism which is supposed to report truth without fear or favor:
…Military reporters who spoke to the “Seventh Eye” say the reason for the lack of reporting is not censorship. They describe the burden of a great many incidents, making it difficult to draw clear conclusions regarding each event in which soldiers were injured. In such a state of affairs, reporters refrain from covering the specific circumstances of the incident, due to caution and sensitivity towards the victims’ families.
This again represents the media pulling punches. It is its responsibility to find out what happened. Not to say–it was all so confusing no one could figure out what happened. It sounds like they didn’t want to know. They did not want to probe too deeply or question too intensely.
Here is another way for the media to let itself off the hook:
The reporters state that…in later stages [of the invasion] and after the completion of the [state] investigation it will be possible to provide more details about the circumstances of the events and their scope–both [for military] operational [purposes] and for the public. On the other hand, there were those [reporters] who felt the issue [of friendly fire] was not sufficiently reported, and thus didn’t draw public attention to its significance.
This is an example of passing the buck: we would rather not report this inconvenient story. We’re reassured that some undetermined investigatory body will do so at some undetermined time. But how will such a body know what happened, without media reporting of the details of such troubling events?
IDF blows smoke
In case you were wondering when such an investigation might happen–well, it’s complicated:
IDF officials explained to “Seventh Eye” that terrain and combat conditions do not permit conducting and completing any investigations that could determine the nature of the problem. The partial data that does exist allows in some cases providing greater details to families who request them, about a battle death or injury. But while commanders continue to lead their troops in battle, they are not always available for an in-depth investigation or to talk with the families, as would happen in a non-combat situation. The IDF doesn’t intend to refer to isolated incidents friendly-fire until there is such a full investigation.
…The IDF spokesperson stated that “the IDF is engaged in operations and fighting during these days, against the murderous terrorist organization, Hamas. After the war, a detailed and in-depth investigation will be conducted on the matter, to fully clarify the details.”
This is standard IDF obfuscation, meant to conceal unpleasantness. Yes, there will be an investigation. But you have to understand the difficult circumstances which we currently face. In other words, don’t bother us, we’re fighting. And even when we get to that investigation, the fog of war may prevent us from knowing exactly what happened and why. How serious do you think such a report is going to be?
The army claims it will give certain unspecified details of the deaths of its soldiers to families, if they ask. But you have to understand we’re fighting a war and might not be able to provide any details at all. To which it adds: we’re not going to comment on any potential friendly fire incidents well, just because–we don’t want to. But everything will be examined in due time. Don’t you worry.
The IDF treats the Israeli public and media like a toddler: we do things you cannot possibly understand. But don’t you worry your little head. We’ve got things under control and you will eventually see things the way we do, if you don’t already. The wonder is the Israeli public sits back, behaves politely and believes whatever hot air is blown its way.
7th Eye asked how many friendly fire incidents there have been, under what circumstances they occurred, and how many casualties resulted. Well, you already know the answer, don’t you?
[7th Eye also asked the IDF] how many friendly fire incidents have happened, how many were injured, and what was the comprehensive overview of events. In answer to the question, whether there is a policy not to report these incidents in a timely fashion, or even after the fact, the army chose not to respond.
Israeli reporters: kill the messenger
7th Eye attempts to explain the reluctance of Israeli media to fully report this important story. Journalists like those at Haaretz, who first reported these killings, were pilloried by what the media calls the “Bibi-ist” press. They are accused of slandering the IDF, betraying its brave fighters before the world, etc.:
The reluctance to deal with these cases is understandable in the context of the attack on those who dare to deal with the issue. Journalists are also afraid of the Israeli public’s reaction to exposing such difficult and painful stories, and that the enemy will take things out of context and use them to deny the massacre by Hamas of civilians.
In other words, Israeli journalists not only have to do the job of reporting, they also have to carefully weigh the consequences of what they report and how they do so. The result is a country “protected” from inconvenient truths. A society which hands off its security to a military-intelligence elite and provides little oversight in return. It is yet another troubling aspect of the Israeli national security state and what has made it not only an apartheid state, but a genocidal one as well.