NEW disclosures have added to the growing body of evidence indicating many Israelis who died on October 7 were killed by the Israeli military.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government has muzzled captives freed from Gaza to prevent further damage to the official narrative.
Firsthand testimony by admittedly inexperienced Israeli tank operators reveals orders to open fire upon Israeli communities when Palestinian militants breached the fences encircling Gaza on October 7.
A glowing profile of an all-female tank company by Israel’s N12 News network contains admissions by the 20-year-old captain – identified only as ‘Karni’ – that she was ordered by a ‘panicked’ soldier to open fire on homes in the Holit kibbutz whether they contained civilians or not.
Ten Israelis were killed in Holit on October 7; no children were among the dead.
‘The soldier points and tells me, “shoot there – the terrorists are there”,’ the captain recounts in the newly-released footage, noting that when she asked: ‘Are there civilians there?,’ her compatriot simply replied, ‘I don’t know,’ and ordered her to ‘just shoot’ a tank round into the buildings anyway.
Ultimately, she recalled, ‘I decided not to shoot’ as ‘this is an Israeli community’. Instead, she said, ‘I fired with my machine gun at a house.’
While the Israeli government and its army of international propagandists have blamed Hamas alone for a range of grisly killings on October 7, along with unsubstantiated claims of rape, torture and beheading babies, the comments in N12’s report add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that shelling by Israeli tanks was responsible for many of the casualties incurred in Israeli kibbutzim.
According to the soldiers interviewed, others killed by the tank company in question include supposed Palestinian militants whom they say they crushed to death with their vehicle.
‘My driver spots two terrorists on the road and reports it,’ the captain tells her N12 interviewer. When ‘I tell her to run them over, she simply runs over the terrorists and moves on,’ she explains blithely.
The female tank company appears to have been trained on the least advanced vehicles in Israel’s arsenal, and given only border defence duties.
In the chaos of the Hamas assault on October 7, they were forced into more advanced vehicles equipped with a remote controlled weapons system (RCWS).
In the N12 report, Brigadier General Raviv Mahmia admitted that taking on a band of militants in Kibbutz Holit was a ‘very complex’ task for which the young tankers were ‘in many ways … not trained to fight’.
‘They fired in Israeli communities, driving on plain roads,’ he noted.
Investigative reporting by The Grayzone has revealed that many of the bodies found burned beyond recognition inside southern Israel’s so-called Gaza envelope were likely victims of the Israeli military – which recent admissions seem to confirm.
On November 26, The Grayzone cited eyewitness testimony to document how an Israeli tank opened fire on a home in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7, killing 12 Israeli noncombatants including Liel Hetzroni – a poster child of Tel Aviv’s international anti-Hamas propaganda campaign.
Evidence of friendly fire deaths on October 7 also arrived through the disclosure by Haaretz that Israeli attack helicopters likely killed many attendees of the Nova electronic music festival, and that Hamas was unaware that the festival was taking place at the time.
Revelations that Israeli troops were ordered to open fire indiscriminately on Israeli communities come as the country’s security services make desperate efforts to control the narrative of the Gaza war.
Following a temporary ceasefire arrangement which saw dozens of Jewish captives released from Gaza beginning November 24, Israel’s Channel 12 revealed that authorities in Tel Aviv have instituted new rules demanding that the freed Israelis be closely monitored when giving interviews.
Those released from Hamas custody ‘are expected to receive close supervision, and they will be instructed on what to tell the media and what not’, the report explained.
At the time of publication, none of the recently-freed Israelis had spoken publicly with any media outlet. Appearances by the captives on Israeli media have become increasingly rare since the release of 85-year-old Yochaved Lifshitz, who was fiercely criticised for shaking the hand of one of her Hamas keepers and acknowledging that they ‘treated us gently’.
Recent comments from a relative of another elderly Israeli woman released November 24, Ruth Munder, seem to validate that account.
Describing the Israelis’ time in Gaza, the family member said: ‘Fortunately, they did not endure any unpleasant experiences during their captivity; they were treated in a humane manner.’
‘Contrary to our fears,’ Munder ‘did not encounter the horrifying stories we had imagined,’ and ultimately, the captives’ custodians ‘did not harm them,’ the family member told Israel’s Jerusalem Post.
Similarly, the sister of a Thai worker taken hostage in Gaza told international media her brother had been ‘taken care of very well,’ and ‘seemed happy’ when he was released.
A guest on Israel’s Channel 13 News acknowledged: ‘It’s important to mention that many accused Israeli former captive Yochaved Lifschitz of disloyalty, but she stated these very things.
She faced bad treatment and was described as causing significant media harm, accused of lying due to her husband being in captivity, that Hamas has influenced her, brainwashing her before her release. But every word she said was true, and these people are making the same statements.’
As she left Gaza for Israel, the Israeli captive Danielle Aloni left a letter for her captors in Hamas thanking them for ‘the unnatural humanity that you showed towards me and to my daughter Emilia. You were like parents to her, inviting her into your room at every opportunity she wanted.’
She concluded by expressing gratitude for, ‘the kind act you showed here despite the difficult situation you were dealing with yourselves. And the difficult losses that befell you here in Gaza. I wish that in this world we could be friends.’
During her time in captivity, Aloni appeared in a video lacerating Netanyahu for his failure to negotiate for her release and those of fellow hostages.
While the Israeli government would likely claim Aloni had been coerced into authoring the letter under extreme duress, it has yet to allow her to speak publicly about her experience in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Haaretz, an Israeli news outlet, has acknowledged in a report published on November 19 that attendees of the Nova festival, located three miles from the Gaza border, were killed by the Israeli military on October 7.
This admission came after Haaretz had previously criticised The Grayzone, for reporting on the incident, labelling it as a ‘conspiracy theory’.
In the Haaretz article, reporter Josh Breiner cited a police source stating that an official investigation into the Nova festival deaths revealed that an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) combat helicopter, arriving from the Ramat David base, fired at terrorists and ‘apparently also hit some of the revellers who were there’.
Additionally, the publication included an audio interview from November 9 with Israeli reserve pilot Colonel Nof Erez. Erez suggested that the Netanyahu administration might have invoked the Hannibal Directive in this situation, a military protocol used in hostage situations, indicating that the military should prevent captives from being taken by enemy forces, even at the risk of harming the captives themselves. Erez described the events of October 7 as ‘a mass Hannibal’.
Following these revelations, Israeli police issued a statement denying Tel Aviv’s forces carried out the massacre and warned media outlets to rely only on official sources.
The statement came amid broader efforts by Israeli authorities to control media coverage of their actions in Gaza.
These efforts include new emergency regulations allowing police to crack down on reporters accused of ‘harming national morale’, blocking foreign press entry, restricting telecommunications, and targeting media offices in Gaza.
Over 50 Palestinian journalists have reportedly been killed since October 7 by Israeli airstrikes.
A petition signed by more than 1,200 journalists noted the challenges faced by the media in Gaza, including bombings of media headquarters and warnings from Israeli forces about the safety of their employees.
The Israeli government has also taken measures against specific media outlets. For instance, Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen has been blocked from broadcasting in territories under Israeli control, and similar threats have been made against Al Jazeera.
Despite Haaretz’s confirmation of the findings initially reported by The Grayzone, mainstream media outlets have largely not acknowledged this development in their reporting.