Film of Hamas atrocities screened for Arab Israeli community leaders in Nazareth

PMO announces screening as ‘part of its public advocacy,’ weeks after an Arab Israeli MK denied some of the brutal crimes documented in the video, and later recanted

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Screenshot of Hamas bodycam footage as terrorists approach an Israeli vehicle during the terror organization's October 7, 2023, attack in southern Israel, released by the IDF and Government Press Office. (Screenshot)
Screenshot of Hamas bodycam footage as terrorists approach an Israeli vehicle during the terror organization's October 7, 2023, attack in southern Israel, released by the IDF and Government Press Office. (Screenshot)

The Prime Minister’s Office said that it would be screening a 43-minute-long video of Hamas atrocities on Tuesday evening for leaders of Israel’s Arab community.

Arab mayors, heads of city councils, community center administrators, media figures, journalists and “thought leaders” were among those invited to the viewing, which the PMO said was “part of its public advocacy.”

The film, produced by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, shows uncensored, difficult-to-watch videos, many taken from terrorists’ bodycams during their murderous rampage in southern Israel on October 7.

It has been shown to journalists and Knesset members in Israel and in limited screenings around the world as part of Israel’s efforts to rally support for its war on Hamas.

The screening were set to take place in a government building in Nazareth in the presence of Social Equality Minister Amichai Chikli, and the coordinator for the fight against crime in Arab communities, Roi Kahlon.

Ami Bisharat, director of the National Committee of Heads of Arab Local Authorities, said he would not attend the Nazareth screening, noting that the film “is not suitable for everyone, and also Jewish local community leaders refused to watch it. [We know that] what happened on October 7 was horrible, without having to watch the film.”

IDF soldiers remove the body of an Israeli killed during an October 7, 2023, attack by Hamas terrorists, in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel bordering the Gaza Strip, on October 10, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP)

In early November, MK Iman Khatib-Yasin from the Islamist Ra’am party argued that the footage did not show “rape of women” nor “slaughtering of babies.” She admitted that she had not seen the video, claiming her allegations were based on reports from three members of her party who had watched it. She maintained, however, that what happened on October 7 was “inhumane.”

Her statement prompted party leader Mansour Abbas to demand her resignation. “There is and will be no space in our ranks for anyone who denies or minimizes the severity of the actions which negate our values and also the religion of Islam,” he remarked.

Abbas himself watched the footage in a closed-door screening for Knesset members, and reportedly broke down in tears during the viewing.

Khatib-Yassin did not step down as requested, but later apologized for her remarks and was present at a second screening of the video at the Knesset.

The Palestinian Authority also accused Israel of fabricating evidence of the October 7 massacres to justify its war in Gaza. The PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs went as far as to claim that the people slaughtered by Hamas at the Supernova Festival — thought to have been at least 360 — were actually killed by IDF helicopters, a claim it retracted after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as “preposterous.”

Ra’am MK Iman Khatib-Yasin, in an interview with the Knesset Channel, November 5, 2023. (Screenshot)

The Knesset’s Ethics Committee on November 15 sanctioned another Arab lawmaker, Hadash-Ta’al MK Aida Touma-Sliman, for allegedly undermining Israel’s legitimacy by accusing the military of committing a “war crime” during its ongoing war to uproot Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

Touma-Sliman, who the committee said did not apologize and did not withdraw her statements, was barred from Knesset committee and plenum sessions for two months, and received a two-week pay deduction.

Shortly after the sanctions announcement, Touma-Sliman’s Hadash-Ta’al party accused the Ethics Committee of conducting a political witch hunt against Arab Israelis, and asserted that the MK “spoke out within the framework of the freedom of political expression to which every Knesset member is entitled.”

Arab Israeli leaders have repeatedly denounced the high civilian death toll in from the Israeli operation in Gaza to eradicate Hamas, and lamented limitations to freedom to hold public protests imposed by Israeli courts during the ongoing hostilities.

The war was triggered by Hamas’s October 7 onslaught on Israel, in which at least 1,200 were brutally killed — mostly civilians — and about 240 were taken hostage to Gaza. Of those abducted, 105 were freed over a seven-day truce, primarily women and children, in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinian security prisoners from Israeli jails.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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