Former U.S. President Barack Obama has endorsed Israel’s right to defend against “wanton violence” by Hamas, but warned that a strategy that |ignores the human cost” would be counterproductive.
In an essay released on Medium on Monday, Obama endorsed President Joe Biden’s call for the U.S. to “support our long-time ally in going after Hamas, dismantling its military capabilities,” and freeing the hostages taken in the October 7 attack.
However, Obama argued, it is important that Israel’s strategy “abides by international law” and minimize the death and suffering of civilians. Not just because it is “morally just and reflects our belief in the inherent value of every human life” but because it is “vital for building alliances and shaping international opinion – all of which are critical for Israel’s long-term security.”
Pointing out that thousands of Palestinians have already been killed, including children, and hundreds of thousands displaced, Obama argued that the crackdown on Gaza could “further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long term efforts” to achieve peace.
Obama advised both Washington and West Jerusalem to reach out to “those Palestinian leaders and organizations that recognize Israel’s right to exist” and start “articulating a viable pathway” for Palestinian statehood, as “the best and perhaps the only way to achieve the lasting peace and security most Israeli and Palectinian families yearn for.”
He also urged both countries to “to do our best to put our best values, rather than our worst fears, on display,” and oppose both “anti-Semitism in all its forms” and “anti-Muslim, anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian sentiment.”
This means “guarding against dehumanizing language towards the people of Gaza, or downplaying Palestinian suffering – whether in Gaza or the West Bank – as irrelevant or illegitimate,” concluded Obama, who was the U.S. president from 2009 to 2017.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen declared on Tuesday that there was “no room for a balanced approach” after the terrorist attacks and that “Hamas must be wiped out from the world!”
Meanwhile, West Jerusalem’s envoy to the UN called on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to resign on Tuesday, for daring to suggest that the Hamas attack “did not happen in a vacuum” and may have been related to “56 years of suffocating occupation” by Israel.
Israel released on Monday what it says is “gruesome” and “unseen” bodycam footage of Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack in order to counter a “Holocaust denial-like phenomenon evolving in real time.”
A report by Fox News (Israel releases unedited video of Oct 7 Hamas attack to counter ‘Holocaust denial-like phenomenon’, October 23, 2023) said:
Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said in a video posted on X before the release that the Israel Defense Forces have “been collecting footage from bodycams taken by the Hamas death squads,” and that they would be making the footage public to maintain a record to counter those who doubt whether certain events took place.
“Now unfortunately, and I cannot believe I am saying this, and I cannot believe that we as a country are having to do this as we work to defeat the terror organization that brutalized our people, we are witnessing a Holocaust denial-like phenomenon evolving in real time as people are casting doubt on the magnitude of the atrocities that Hamas committed against our people and, in fact, recorded in order to glorify that violence,” he continued.
“Therefore… the Government Press Office will screen for foreign media gruesome and as yet unseen footage of the barbarities perpetrated against our people on October 7th,” he added. “This is footage that has not been made public. It will screen a compilation of raw and unedited footage from the October 7th Massacre for journalists who can stomach the horrific truth and want to report on what they saw.”
The screening happened in Israel Monday morning. Some of the content, according to Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin, included Israelis being ambushed in their cars, a girl being executed after Hamas terrorists found her hiding under a desk and a father dying after a Hamas fighter threw a grenade into a bomb shelter that he and his two children were seeking cover in.
The Government Press Office did not immediately respond to a request for further comment from Fox News Digital.
The Fox News report said:
The war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is now in its third week. At least 5,700 people have been reported killed in the war on both sides, including at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers and 32 Americans. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims at least 4,385 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank and more than 13,561 wounded.
At least 10 Americans are feared to be among the 222 people held captive by Hamas.
Reports by the WRAP and Daily Beast said:
The Israeli government showed foreign journalists a 43-minute compilation of horrific raw footage from Hamas’ massacres in southern Israel, an effort to prevent denials of the atrocities committed on Oct. 7.
On Monday, 200 members of the foreign press reporting out of Israel were shown the footage including scenes of murder, decapitation, and torture from the terrorist invasion of southern Israel. Some of the footage was collected from Hamas terrorists’ bodycams.
The Israeli government screened this for the press in an effort to quell “Holocaust-denial-like phenomenon happening in real-time,” according to an IDF spokesman.
Journalists in attendance were prohibited from recording any of the footage.
The 43-minute video included security camera footage, body cameras of Hamas terrorists, dashboard cameras, call recordings, cellphone videos taken by Hamas or first responders, and more. Still images were also included in the raw footage, showing a decapitated soldier, burned human remains, and a pile of dead bodies in a bomb shelter.
Political correspondent for the Times of Israel Carrie Keller-Lynn was in attendance and said footage included Hamas terrorists donning IDF uniforms, flagging down civilian cars, and shooting the passengers.
Another video Keller-Lynn saw included first responders “pouring bottled water over still-smoldering bodies, hoping to snuff out the remaining embers.”
Keller-Lynn added that after the footage was shown, Major Gen. Mickey Edelstein said that the IDF has evidence of rape, but “cannot share it,” without adding further context.
Israeli officials said the graphic screening, hosted at a Tel Aviv military base, was necessary to fight against what they claim are lies pushed by Hamas that are akin to a “Holocaust denial-like phenomenon.”
A single clip was permitted to leave the base, which appeared to show an Israeli driver and passenger being gunned down by Hamas fighters with rifles.
That scene ends with a Hamas fighter’s body cam showing two bodies slouched over in the car.
The Times of Israel reported that the compilation of apparent atrocities totaled 43 minutes.
The Guardian, an English newspaper, reported that the clips included the killing of children and decapitation of Israelis. The footage was gathered from security cameras, body cameras, vehicle dashboard cameras, social media accounts, and from mobile phones, which “left some reporters in tears.”
Jotam Confino, a British journalist in attendance, shared a horrifying list of things included in the screening. He described watching clips of an man being beheaded with a shovel, an unarmed father being killed by a grenade as he sheltered with his weeping young sons, and a young girl—aged between 7 to 9—being shot dead.
In an audio recording played for the press, Confino reported that a Hamas militant called his parents to brag about his killing, saying, “I killed 10 Jews with my own hands. I am using the dead Jewish woman’s phone to call you now.”
The Guardian reported that a clip showed an Israeli woman checking a burned woman’s corpse to see if it was a family member. The dead woman’s dress “was pulled up to her waist and her underpants had been removed,” the paper wrote. Still images reportedly showed slain Israelis spread across highways, having been killed and their cars reportedly stolen.
In remarks following the screening, Major Gen. Michael Edelstein of the Israel Defense Forces said that the military has evidence of “Iranian involvement” in the multi-front Oct. 7 attack—though he said he “cannot elaborate” on the claims.
“You definitely can see evidence, we have evidence of Iranian involvement,” he said, according to British news network Sky News. “I cannot elaborate too much, but you can understand what I mean. Not just about equipment but more than this.”
The Daily Beast report said:
Israel’s death toll has remained largely stagnant since the surprise attack. Air strikes have taken a toll on Hamas and Palestinians in Gaza, however, where authorities claim its death toll had eclipsed 5,000 people by Monday.
Life for a majority of civilians in Gaza has been completely uprooted. More than half of its population have been displaced in Israel’s retaliatory bombing, creating a humanitarian crisis as Palestinians are desperately low on drinking water, food and medicine, the United Nations said Monday.