Deconstruction Zone: Witnessing the Horror
Nov 27, 2023 | Suzan Quitaz
On Monday October 23, at the IDF Glilot military base in Herzliya, alongside at least 100 journalists, I was invited to a screening exclusive to international media. We were warned in advance that the materials we were going to see would be raw and unedited footage. We were also informed that we would not be allowed to bring phones or any other recording devices into the screening.
The extremely disturbing 45-minute video comprised footage from the body-cams and mobile phones used by Hamas terrorists, as well as material collected from civilian dash-cam footage, CCTV footage, video from rescuers and imagery posted to social media by both Hamas terrorists and their victims.
Never in my life have I attended a press briefing where journalists looked so shocked, in horror, tears streaming down their faces, some cries could be heard throughout the big auditorium, others shouted “please stop”. Some had to leave because it became too much for them.
In the video, terrorists looked content and proud as they committed sadistic atrocities. They were talking among themselves saying “I swear to Allah, I just killed the coward Jew dog who was hiding under the table.” That “Jew dog” was a young girl who was seen alive in the video hiding under table-desk. They shot her at close-range.
We saw homes soaked in blood, we saw beheaded people, people slaughtered with knives, young women who had been raped, and people burned beyond recognition. We saw CCTV footage of terrorists standing on roadways in southern Israel shooting at civilian cars as they speed away in fear. A car stops, terrorists surround it and continue shooting at close-range even when it’s clear the occupants are already dead.
We saw terrorists walking inside Jewish communities looking for people to kill, unsuspecting people, some still asleep or just woken up and having breakfast with loved ones. The terrorists peek into the windows to see if any Jews are there. They work their way through houses, shooting people trying to hide. We saw their terrified victims, people crying and begging the terrorists not to kill them. We saw a children’s room soaked in blood. We saw babies, their tiny bodies covered with bullet wounds and others slaughtered with sharp objects.
In one agonising moment, CCTV video show a father and two young boys dressed in underwear, running out of their home and into what appears to be a shelter. CCTV cameras outside the house show terrorists run to the shelter. They throw a grenade, the father collapses and dies. The younger boy is injured in one of his eyes and covered in blood. The two young boys wail in pain and shout “daddy”. They are dragged back to the house and forced into the open kitchen. The small boy cries in pain and says “I can only see with one eye.” One of the terrorists opens the fridge looking for food. He grabs a big bottle, some sort of drink. He drinks it front of the two boys.
The most emotional moment for me was when the older boy, not more 11 years old, crawls on the floor and wailing in pain, says in Hebrew, subtitled to English, “Daddy, daddy, God, why I am alive?”
Another harrowing video was taken at the Supernova musical festival near Re’im. Terrorists approach what appears to be a shelter, packed with many dead people. One terrorist walks in, checking if anyone is alive. He suddenly shouts in Palestinian Arabic, “there is a dog moving.” The “dog” was a young man, badly injured. On his face one can see profound fear and shock. He looks at the terrorist, tears streaming down his face, but he says nothing. The terrorist shouts to another “give me a knife,” a reply was heard “just shoot him”. Other terrorists came inside to check if more were alive. They find a few, their bodies covered in blood. Violently, the terrorists start pulling them out. I saw a guy with long hair. The terrorist pulled his hair and dragged him out. Terrorists were laughing among themselves, and hitting their victims while loading them in vehicles to be taken away.
As the video draws to the end and the lights are on, I see many of my journalist colleagues wiping their tears away. Prior to the screening, Maj. Gen. Edelstein said he wanted the world to understand the evil visited upon communities in southern Israel, and why the IDF would now do “whatever is needed to bring back the sense of security to our people.”