Jonathan Cook – Why is the real story of October 7 off-limits to western, but not Israeli, media?

Israeli army ‘ethics’ chief says crimes committed by soldiers against Israel’s own civilians are ‘horrifying’. How is this not newsworthy for British journalists?

Jonathan Cook is the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at

Cross-posted from Jonathan’s Blog

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper interviewed this week the army’s “ethics” chief, Asa Kasher, of Tel Aviv university, about two major incidents on October 7:

1. An Israeli commander ordered a tank to fire into a home in Kibbutz Be’eri knowing that there were 14 Israeli civilians inside, incinerating them.

2. Israeli helicopters fired missiles at dozens of cars with Israeli hostages inside, killing the inhabitants, again often by incinerating them.

In both cases, the official Israeli narrative is that Hamas was responsible for these “barbaric” acts, supposedly justifying the genocide Israel is carrying out – “in response” – against the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza.

Haaretz and Kasher ascribe these “friendly fire” incidents to Israel’s classified “Hannibal directive”, which requires soldiers to stop Israelis being taken hostage at all costs. Kasher thinks – probably wrongly – that the directive was misunderstood and misapplied by commanders on the day.

Urging an immediate investigation, Kasher says of the first incident: “How is it possible that a high ranking army official would give a command that so immediately and definitely endangers the life of so many civilians? It’s just horrifying.”

And of the second incident, he says: “This sounds totally unacceptable from every aspect. Against orders. Against procedure. Against values. Against ethics. And possibly against the law.”

Efforts to re-examine the Israeli government’s October 7 narrative are all over the Israeli media. Many of the families of the Israelis killed on October 7 are demanding an investigation.

So how is it possible that the BBC and the rest of the western media keep revisiting the horrors of October 7 but never to raise these issues , even though they have been so prominent in the Israeli public space for many weeks?

The only possible answer is that western media outlets are consciously censoring this story because it directly conflicts with the West’s ideological and strategic agenda. It raises disturbing questions about western complicity in genocide.

Once again, the establishment media’s unwillingness to report the real story starkly gives the lie to their claim to be ‘free and fearless’.

In truth, they are there to uphold a narrative of western moral and civilisational superiority. They are there to justify the West’s wars – and the war industry and resource-grab portfolios that our economies, and the media corporations themselves, are so heavily invested in.

My own discussion of Israel’s killing of its citizens on October 7 can be read here:


I have written about Israel’s evidence-free claims of “mass rape” by Hamas, also regurgitated uncritically by the western media, here.


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