“7 October 2023 - Hamas Massacre – Collated Raw Footage” is a 45-minute film prepared by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and drawn from found-footage taken from the body cameras and mobile phones of neutralised terrorists and Hamas social media broadcasts, along with media from the security systems of Israeli citizens’ homes and even, sickeningly, from an Israeli kindergarten where acts of terror were perpetrated. Footage was also obtained from the mobile phones and dashcams of some of the victims and the cameras of the Israeli rescue services.
Much has already been written about this film, now in its 19th iteration as the IDF collate and add more evidence to this graphic and harrowing archive of 7/10. The film itself is a work of painstaking effort and detail, documenting a fraction of the depraved crimes committed in southern Israel on that day.
The filmmakers have strived to protect the dignity of the victims. The consent of the families of the victims has been obtained and where the faces of the dead may have been clearly identifiable, these have been blurred. As a further measure, all those who have attended the film's screenings have been required to leave their mobile phones or other recording devices, outside of the screening room.
An early extract from the film, that evidences the IDF’s editing skill, is from footage taken from the dashcam of a victim’s car that is unwittingly approaching a group of terrorists that are clearly armed with assault rifles. The dashcam captures the terrorists taking aim at the vehicle and the car's windscreen fracturing as it is hit by bullets. The fractures increase and we then see the windscreen glass being spattered by flecks of the victim’s blood. The terror and pain that the car's driver must have experienced is left to our imagination. The film then cuts to terrorist-filmed bodycam footage of the same shooting, that shows the same car approaching the terrorists. We see them taking aim and shooting, their bullets fracturing the cars windscreen. We then see the murder of the driver.
There are so many other episodes to this short film. This lists some of them:
• the intercepted radio communication from a Hamas commander, instructing the terrorists to bring a victim’s corpse back with them to “let the people play with his body”
• the recorded phone call from a terrorist to his mother, screaming his exhilaration down the line at having “killed 10 Jews with his bare hands”
• not just the murders that are on film, but the desecration of the victims’ bodies. On my witnessing the decapitation of a dead Israeli soldier my most overwhelming emotion, after the revulsion, was that of thankfulness that at least the young Israeli was now free of the fear and free of the pain and humiliation that his tormentors were raining down upon his body.
• the image of a young woman’s beautifully manicured nails on her now rigid and lifeless hand, her arm unscathed while her head and torso had been charred beyond recognition.
• the burnt out line of cars attempting to have fled the Nova music festival – a scene more resemblant of a Hollywood disaster movie, than a real life rave.
• the reality that however fast a victim can run, bullets travel faster.
The overarching image of the film however is the evidenced complicity of so many civilians from Gaza. A large number of the murderers appeared to be ordinary Gazans with no uniform other than, for some, bulletproof vests. So many of them clad in tracksuit bottoms and trainers, laughing and joking amongst themselves. Ordinary blokes.
And then wilfully slaughtering both Jews and non-Jews.
Civilians were dominant too in the clips of victims being driven in pickup trucks and jeeps through the packed streets of Gaza amidst cheering crowds who were either beating the living victims, or desecrating the bodies of the dead. To our civilised Western minds, the horrors of 7/10 defy comprehension.
This short film documents only a small percentage of the crimes perpetrated by Hamas that day. But the IDF filmmakers who have compiled the film are talented individuals whose skills transcend those usually found in post-production suites. Clearly the IDF filmmakers have laboured over footage drawn from countless sources, to piece together such a thorough narrative. The human resilience that must have been required from the IDF editors to craft such sequences is remarkable.
7/10 came from evil, but has spawned countless acts of heroism in so many ways as individuals have responded to the day’s horrors. The film unit of the IDF are heroes too.