There is growing evidence that in the chaotic fighting that took place once Hamas militants entered Israel on October 7, the Israeli military decided to target not only Hamas fighters, but the Israeli captives with them.
Tuval Escapa, a member of the security team for Kibbutz Be’eri, told the Israeli press, he set up a hotline to coordinate between kibbutz residents and the Israeli army.
Escapa told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that as desperation began to set in, “the commanders in the field made difficult decisions – including shelling houses on their occupants in order to eliminate the terrorists along with the hostages.”
The newspaper reported that Israeli commanders were “compelled to request an aerial strike” against its own facility inside the Erez Crossing to Gaza “in order to repulse the terrorists” who had seized control. That base housed Israeli Civil Administration officers and soldiers.
Israel, in 1986, instituted a military policy called the Hannibal Directive, apparently named for the Carthaginian general who poisoned himself rather than be captured by the Romans, following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. The directive is designed to prevent Israeli troops from falling into enemy hands through the maximum use of force, even at the cost of killing the captured soldiers and civilians.
The directive was executed during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge. Hamas fighters on Aug. 1, 2014 captured an Israeli officer, Lt. Hadar Goldin. In response, Israel dropped more than 2,000 bombs, missiles and shells on the area where he was being held. Goldin was killed along with over 100 Palestinian civilians. The directive was supposedly rescinded in 2016.
Joining me to discuss the reports of Israel shelling its own citizens with tanks and missiles is Max Blumenthal, who investigated this for The Grayzone.