The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Israel admits burning hundreds of people on 7 October

Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 17 November 2023

Houses and buildings reduced to rubble in Kibbutz Be'eri
Israel has never explained how Palestinian fighters who crossed from Gaza on 7 October could have caused mass destruction to Israeli homes, as seen here in Kibbutz Be’eri, with their light weapons. There’s mounting evidence that heavy, indiscriminate fire by Israeli forces killed Palestinians and Israeli civilians alike. (Ziv Koren, Polaris)

On Thursday, MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan challenged Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev about the many lies and false claims that Israel has made to justify its genocidal bombing and invasion of Gaza.

While attempting to parry Hasan’s challenges, Regev told many more lies, trying to change the subject and shift the blame for the horrifying toll away from Israel and onto Israel’s Palestinian victims.

But Regev made one admission whose significance neither Regev nor Hasan appears to have recognized.

Regev was trying to make the point that Israel – supposedly unlike Hamas – can be trusted because when Israel makes a mistake, it admits it.

Regev gave this example: “We originally said, in the atrocious Hamas attack upon our people on October 7th, we had the number at 1,400 casualties and now we’ve revised that down to 1,200 because we understood that we’d overestimated, we made a mistake. There were actually bodies that were so badly burnt we thought they were ours, in the end apparently they were Hamas terrorists.”


Earlier this month, Israel did in fact revise down the number of Israelis it says were killed on 7 October to “around 1,200.” 

Although it has offered no direct evidence, Israel has claimed that Hamas fighters burned Israeli civilians en masse, in atrocities not seen since the Holocaust.

Israel has also never explained how Palestinians fighters could have achieved this or caused the enormous damage to Israeli houses with only the light weapons they were generally seen carrying.

It simply makes no sense that 200 bodies burned beyond recognition that Israel thought were Israeli civilians could turn out to be Hamas fighters unless Israel killed people indiscriminately.

Obviously Hamas fighters did not set themselves on fire and burn themselves beyond recognition. And Israel must know the circumstances in which these people died.

Evidence Israel killed its own

Regev’s statement is a significant addition to the mounting evidence that on 7 October Israeli forces went on a panicked rampage, firing wildly with powerful weapons, indiscriminately killing both Palestinian fighters and the Israeli civilians who were with them.

That is the testimony of Yasmin Porat, an Israeli civilian who survived a massacre by Israeli forces at Kibbutz Be’eri.

And the Israeli air force has admitted that it sent up more than two dozen attack helicopters which fired huge amounts of heavy cannon shells and Hellfire missiles on 7 October, even though in many cases the pilots could not tell Palestinians apart from Israeli civilians.

“Shoot at everything,” one squadron leader told his men.

Later in the Mehdi Hasan interview, Regev regurgitates the standard Israeli propaganda claim that the civilian death toll in Gaza is so high because Hamas uses civilians as “human shields.”

Hasan challenges this with what he poses as a hypothetical question. He asks Regev: “Would you bomb schools and houses in Israel if Hamas militants were believed to be under them and kill Israeli human shields in the process?”

Hasan does not seem to realize that this is exactly what Israel did on and after 7 October, as growing evidenceindicates.

Needless to say, Regev did not provide any meaningful answer.

Israel’s continued disregard for the lives of its own civilians has been amply demonstrated by its carpet bombing of Gaza that is endangering and killing Israeli and foreign citizens detained there. 

Burned cars, burned bodies

It is also notable that graphic images of badly burned bodies in cars that Israel released in its initial propaganda blitz after 7 October, bear a striking resemblance to the car of a Lebanese family Israel shelled across the border in southern Lebanon on 6 November, killing three young girls and their grandmother, and wounding their mother:

Up until now, mainstream Western media – following the line from their governments – have refused to challenge Israel’s increasingly threadbare claims about what happened on 7 October. 

There needs to be a full, independent inquiry into what happened – something neither Israel nor its American and European enablers are likely to demand or allow.

That is because there is already undeniable evidence – and Regev’s statement corroborates it – that the leaders in Tel Aviv ordering the massacres of Palestinian civilians already had the blood of many Israeli civilians on their hands even before the first bomb dropped on Gaza.

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *