A Record of Pure, Predatory Sadism

Oct 23, 2023 | Hostages

Officials in Israel screened footage of the Hamas attack for the press: “What we shared with you, you should know it,” one official said.


This afternoon, at a military base north of Tel Aviv, the Israel Defense Forces held a grisly matinee screening of 43 minutes of raw footage from Hamas’s October 7 attack. Members of the press were invited, but cameras were not allowed. Hamas had the opposite policy on cameras during the attack, which it documented gleefully with its fighters’ body cams and mobile phones. Some of the clips had been circulating already on social media in truncated or expurgated form, with the footage decorously stopped just before beheadings and moments of death. After having seen them both in raw and trimmed forms, I can endorse the decision to trim those clips. I certainly hope I never see any of the extra footage again.

It was, as IDF Major General Mickey Edelstein told the press afterward, “a very sad movie.” Men, women, and children are shot, blown up, hunted, tortured, burned, and generally murdered in any horrible manner you could predict, and some that you might not. The terrorists surround a Thai man they have shot in the gut, then bicker about what to do next. (About 30,000 Thais live in Israel, many of them farmworkers.) “Give me a knife!” one Hamas terrorist shouts. Instead he finds a garden hoe, and he swings at the man’s throat, taking thwack after thwack.

Graeme Wood: What is Israel trying to accomplish?

The audience gasped. I heard someone heave a little at another scene, this one showing a father and his young sons, surprised in their pajamas. A terrorist throws a grenade into their hiding place, and the father is killed. The boys are covered in blood, and one appears to have lost an eye. They go to their kitchen and cry for their mother. One of the boys howls, “Why am I alive?” and “Daddy, Daddy.” One says, “I think we are going to die.” The terrorist who killed their father comes in, and while they weep, he raids their fridge. “Water, water,” he says. The spokesman was unable to say whether the children survived.


Read the whole article at The Atlantic.