Israel killed Israelis, confirms new 7 October documentary

A man with a laptop views an image of a war-ravaged home

Military expert Chris Cobb-Smith says that much of the destruction caused to Israeli homes on 7 October could not have been done by Hamas.


A new documentary by Al Jazeera’s investigative unit has found that many of the most horrific Israeli stories about the Palestinian military assault that began on 7 October were untrue.

“Misinformation has been used, and sometimes deliberate disinformation has been used by official spokespersons,” says one commentator quoted in the documentary, October 7.

The film was viewed by The Electronic Intifada ahead of its first broadcast. It was released online the week after this article was initially published.

Although now posted to YouTube, the platform has age-restricted the film. This means a YouTube account is required to click through and view the video embedded below. But the full film can also be viewed on Al Jazeera’s website without any account.

Although not the comprehensive investigation by international experts that many have called for, the documentary does confirm much of the reporting done about 7 October by a small group of independent journalists, who have debunked Israeli atrocity propaganda, at the cost of being smeared and attacked by corporate media.

The Electronic Intifada, The Grayzone, Mondoweiss and The Cradle have all found that many – if not most – of the 1,154 Israelis the government claims were killed by Palestinians were actually killed by Israel itself.

The documentary confirms The Electronic Intifada’s report from January that at midday on 7 October the Israeli army invoked the Hannibal Directive.

As explained in the documentary by Israeli historian Uri Bar-Joseph, “The Hannibal Directive is an informal protocol that says, we prefer that the soldier be killed than taken alive.”

Mass Hannibal

As The Electronic Intifada reported in December, one Israeli air force colonel even described 7 October as a “mass Hannibal.” In its reactivated form, the doctrine seems to have been extended from soldiers to any Israelis, including civilians.

Al Jazeera’s investigative unit carried out a forensic analysis, examining seven hours of footage, much of it taken from the head cameras of dead Hamas fighters. It reviewed the testimonies of hundreds of survivors and compiled a comprehensive list of victims.

The investigation concludes that at least 27 of the Israeli prisoners in Palestinian captivity “died somewhere between their home and the Gaza fence in circumstances that have not been explained.”

It also finds that at least another 18 of the 782 Israeli and foreign civilians Israel says were killed in the assault were killed by Israeli ground troops.

While not reaching a definitive conclusion as to how many of the dead civilians were killed by Israel itself, it does say that, “A number of other bodies” that were recovered from beneath rubble were of those “who died in circumstances that are unclear.”

It does also mention the Israeli press reporting – as revealed in English by The Electronic Intifada in January – that 70 vehicles driven by Palestinian fighters returning to Gaza were blown up by Israeli helicopter gunships, drones or tanks.

These numbers should therefore be taken as a bare minimum in the absence of a comprehensive, credible and independent investigation of the events of 7 October.

It is likely given the documented use by Israel of heavy weapons such as tanks and combat helicopters on a large scale that the number of Israelis killed by their own forces is much higher.

Israel has however refused to allow an independent United Nations team to enter the country to carry out just such an investigation.

“No way” done by Hamas

The investigative unit also collected footage from the kibbutzim – the Israeli settlements close to the boundary with Gaza that were assaulted by Hamas starting on 7 October.

The footage was of both the assault on the settlements as well as of the aftermath, as widely reported by the Israeli and international media.

Al Jazeera showed this footage to a military expert, former British artillery officer Chris Cobb-Smith.

Cobb-Smith concluded that much of the damage could not have been done by Hamas.

“All the footage I’ve seen of the Hamas assault across the border across the fence into the [kibbutzim], they’re pretty much only armed with light weapons,” he says in the documentary. “Rocket propelled grenades and personal sidearms.”

Shown footage from Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Kfar Azza, he said that such “catastrophic structural damage” was “clearly not caused by a structural collapse from a fire” and would have been “caused by some sort of heavy weapons system during combat. This catastrophic structural damage to many of these buildings, this can only have happened by heavy weapon systems being used against the kibbutz itself.”

Shown images of two holes in the wall of a kibbutz house, “I would say probably by some sort of heavy weapon fired against the house, most probably a tank,” he explained that “there’s no way an RPG would make that sort of damage.”

The documentary also supports some of The Electronic Intifada’s debunking of the Israeli government’s discredited “mass rape” atrocity propaganda.

It notes that the recent UN report on the issue stated that the visual evidence it gathered provided “no tangible indications of rape” and says that this was “a conclusion supported by the [Al Jazeera Investigative] Unit’s own analysis of footage and photographs.”

The report, led by Pramila Patten, helped Israel and The New York Times launder its atrocity propaganda through the UN system.

But contrary to much media spin, the Patten report further exposes the claims of systematic sexual violence as a fraud.

Updated after publication to add links to the film after it was released on 20 March.




You can understand the rage that this invincible IDF would have felt at the successful mass taking of hostages. However, the speed at which improbable stories of mass baby beheadings, gang rape parties and the like were produced along with the fragments of footage speaks to something more sinister. There was also the almost tragic undisciplined military response, with units milling around with no apparent command structure or purpose, followed by even worse profligate use of heavy weapons in areas of dense concentrations Israeli citizens. For me the most obscene images were of the US president racing to Bibi's side to promise a blank cheque for genocide and then lie about seeing those baby photos.
We watched choreography those first days, a dance macabre of genocide. Just who was conducting the orchestra is not fully clear.


Exactly. They were, apparently, not ready for the Oct 7 attack - yet they were ready with their lies.


According to Many sources, (Namely the NYT, the messenger, Electronic Intifada) Israeli intelligence was aware of the attack at the kibbutz A YEAR BEFORE, ( The Jericho Wall Directive)!&&p...) making the Jews accomplices in the murder of innocents (illegal settlers). There were no mass rapes, beheading of children. Much of the damage was caused by Israeli helicopters and Tanks. Many of the "victims" were killed by The Israeli Army, under the "Hannibal Directive" (shoot your own). This was planned by the Israelis to instigate a war with Palestine and STEAL more land for further illegal settlements.


Sometimes the orchestra doesn't need a conductor. Everyone knows the song so well. (When you're that easily led, who needs a leader?)


In the aftermath of the HAMAS attack on October 7, 2023, it occurred to me much of western media personalized reporting of individual Israeli suffering, but Palestinians were generally statistics.

Individual Israelis or families were interviewed, but not so in Gaza & the West Bank.

Americans have been subject to an Israeli influence operation for decades, facilitated by the U.S. government.

Al-Jazeera English & media organization like Electronic Intifada are reliable sources of reporting on Israel’s war on Gaza.


Israeli leadership is fond of equating and leveraging their 10/7 to the American 9/11. How true! The strident denials and massive cover-ups surrounding both events have led to carnage on an unfathomable scale. Corrupt governments have leaders who are always willing to sacrifice their own citizens in the furtherance of their own personal wealth and power. I depend on and admire the truth tellers and The Electronic Intafada. [“9-11 changed everything.” ~ former US vice-president Richard Cheney


I watched part of the doco and there was mention that at least 800 deaths were all unarmed civilians killed by Hamas fighters. He mentioned they went through more than 8 hours of footage but,
1. I can't see how they could attribute 800 deaths to Hamas fighters unless they verified them, which unless all were caught in the footage (and there just isn't enough) so they can't.
2. As mentioned the only footage we saw from what the Israelis had is only what they want to show us.
3. Everything the Israelis have said has been an outright lie.


I would note once more the close parallels between Israelis’ 10/7 and Americans’ 9/11, as evidence has been discounted and destroyed and official, unsupported narratives have led to unending carnage, dehumanization and genocide.


One has to wonder whether the 10/7 ‘surprise’ attack was truly unexpected. Like the Cheney-Bush U.S. administration immediately post-9/11, the 10/7 attack conveniently enables the Israeli Netanyahu government to justify extreme emergency war measures then force through his/its ‘democratic reforms’ and commit who-knows-what-more atrocities against Palestine, including cleansing and food-starving its long-time Palestinian residents. (Albeit, the attack may have been harder than the insiders had anticipated.)

It seems a bit convenient for Israeli power interests; notably, western world governments and especially our mainstream news-media basically all fell into line. Also, not widely publicized is that there are considerable fossil fuel reserves beneath long-held Palestinian land that are a plausible motivator for war.

Plus, Netanyahu's military-officer brother was killed during an attack against Palestinian and German hostage-takers in 1976. He may want more blood for that. And now, who’s plausibly going to stop the Israel Defense Forces and Prime Minister Netanyahu, especially with their state-of-the-art mostly-American weaponry?

Non-combatant Palestinians' great suffering and deaths are deemed less worthy of actionable Western [our] concern as each day passes along with news-media mentions of civilian death-tolls. Atrociously, the worth of such life can/will be measured by our news-media according to the overabundance of protracted conditions under which it suffers.


It would be useful to have a careful record of Israeli residents definitely known to have been killed by Hamas fighters on 7 October. This would be no more conclusive than the above account of casualties but it would pose a challenge to the Israeli authorities to provide evidence of additional killings. Until or unless they did, Electronic Intifada could use a phrase such as: "On 7 October, when Hamas militants are known to have killed (e.g. 45) Israeli residents...." The Israelis and Mainstream media should not be permitted to carry on with their charade of implying that Hamas killed all 1159 Israeli residents.

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Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London. He is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada and co-host of our podcast.

He is author of the bestselling book Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn (OR Books, 2023).