Robert Crampton
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The 43-minute film of the Hamas massacre is the worst thing I’ve seen


Robert Crampton watched the footage of the Hamas attacks in Israel

The close-up, uncensored footage of the cold-blooded murders that occurred in Israel on October 7 is extremely harrowing. Should you force yourself to watch it?

The contrast between the august library at a well-respected think tank in central London and the 43-minute film screened within it was acute. This organisation is devoted to fostering measured research and civilised debate, men and women employing humankind’s best attributes to try to solve differences and problems. The images screened at its headquarters last night, however, showed our species at its absolute rock-bottom worst.

You know, intellectually, that we humans are capable of behaving like this. But to read about such brutality happening long ago is one thing; to watch what happened in southern Israel seven weeks ago on a screen, much of it joyously filmed by the perpetrators, is something else. There were about 30 of us in the room, hardened hacks, defence and security experts, diplomats, activists. Yet the gasps of shock were frequent, the stunned stupefied silence at the end total.

A screengrab from the footage released by the IDF of a Hamas fighter attacking Israeli civilians
A screengrab from the footage released by the IDF of a Hamas fighter attacking Israeli

The footage — raw in both senses of the word — compiled from body cams, CCTV and mobile phone video of the massacres in Israel on October 7 is (un)comfortably the worst thing I have seen. Close-up, point-blank, cold-blooded murders, one after another after another. The savage decapitation of a young soldier’s body in a kibbutz. The heaped corpses of teenagers, the girls in their sparkly party gear, chests ripped open by large-calibre bullets, at the Nova festival in the desert. Two terrified little boys in their underpants, wailing their grief and fear in the instant aftermath of their dad’s death from a grenade blast. Badly injured youngsters, bleeding profusely, hauled out of a shelter, loaded onto a van and driven away. Crowds celebrating in Gaza, spitting and stomping on kidnapped Israelis, some already dead, some barely alive. Hamas terrorists, many not out of their teens, jostling to take selfies, lining up the camera to get a corpse in the background, as one might with your mates on a sightseeing tour. Bullets punching through the walls of a kindergarten, the epitome of a soft target.

While the pictures, by definition, are more graphic, the audio is more chilling. We’ve read before of the man calling his parents to boast that “your son killed ten Jews with my bare hands!”. What struck me, though, was not that young man’s depraved exuberance but the callous calculation of many of his fellow killers. “There, light the way, under the table, one, two, three …” one terrorist instructs another, counting off whimpering young women under a table, his commands punctuated by shots. “In the head,” he says several times, urging his partner to conserve ammunition. “In the head.”

A screengrab from the footage released by the IDF of a Hamas fighter attacking Israeli civilians

The kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel, one of the sites of the Hamas attacks. REX/SHUTTERSTOCK Robert Crampton watched the footage

Another radios his commander, who orders him to bring back a body to “let the people play with it”. The junior man says some of his men are “playing” with severed heads already. Stephen Fry, sitting just behind me, let out a quiet tortured moan at that. I think I did too. Peter Tatchell, two rows in front, silently lowered his head in despair. The two most common words spoken by Hamas that day seem to have been, when translated, “God” and “dog”. Two short words, one the reverse of the other, summing up their feelings and their motivation, and perhaps suggesting how so many people can lose their minds and their humanity to the extent of being able to do what they did. God — their God — is great. Jews are not people, but dogs…


Robert Crampton watched the footage of the Hamas attacks in Israel

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Habage
Habage
3 months ago

Hello, world. They have threatened to repeat these acts until every Jew is dead. Three generations raised on math books glorifying killing Jews, UNRW teachers telling little kids they can aspire to be suicide bombers. And you blame us, the Israelis??

Last edited 3 months ago by Habage

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