After an Israeli reserve soldier named David Ben Zion told a reporter Palestinian militants “cut [off] heads of babies,” Biden, Netanyahu, and the international media amplified the dubious claim.
The Grayzone has identified Ben Zion as a fanatical settler leader who incited riots by demanding a Palestinian town be “wiped out.”
An international outcry erupted when Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced that Palestinian militants from the besieged Gaza Strip had killed 40 “babies,” and beheaded several of them during an incursion into Kfar Aza, a kibbutz on the Gaza border. President Joseph Biden repeated the inflammatory claim during an October 10 White House Rose Garden address, while networks across the West carried the story without a shred of critical scrutiny.
According to CNN correspondent Nic Robertson, apparently citing Israeli military sources, Palestinian militants carried out, “ISIS-style executions,” in which they were “cutting the heads off of people,” including babies and pets.
The Grayzone has now identified a key source of the claim that Palestinian militants beheaded Israeli babies. He is David Ben Zion, a Deputy Commander of Unit 71 of the Israeli army who also happens to be an extremist settler leader who incited violent riots against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank earlier this year.
In an October 10 interview with reporter Nicole Zedek of the Israeli state-sponsored i24 network, Ben Zion stated, “We walked door to door, we killed a lot of terrorists. They are very bad. They cut heads of children, they cut heads of women. But we are stronger than them.”
He added, “We know that they are animals,” referring to Palestinians, “but we found that they don’t have any heart.”
“They chopped heads of children and women,” says David Ben Zion, Deputy Commandee of Unit 71 to our @Nicole_Zedek, while reporting from the massacre in Kfar Aza in southern Israel pic.twitter.com/IHSB0ywMbF
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) October 10, 2023
Hours after his interview with i24, still in the village of Kfar Aza, a uniformed Ben Zion could be seen repeatedly grinning ear-to-ear in a video posted to his Facebook – an odd disposition for a supposed witness to the methodical butchering of babies.
Earlier that day, i24’s Zedek declared during a live report from Kfar Aza, “About 40 babies were taken out on gurneys… Cribs overturned, strollers left behind, doors left wide open.’” Zedek’s report has been viewed tens of millions of times on Twitter and promoted by Israel’s Foreign Ministry – which underwrites her network.
Hours later, she qualified her statement, stating, “Soldiers told me they believe 40 babies/children were killed. The exact death toll is still unknown as the military continues to go house to house and find more Israeli casualties.”
Israel experts urge investigation into far-right parliamentarians for inciting ‘war crimes’
Israeli experts have called on the country’s attorney general to investigate comments made by lawmakers including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich for ‘including war crimes’ against Palestinians.
Twenty-two Israeli experts on international law have urged Israel’s attorney general to investigate members of the Knesset, including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, for “inducing war crimes” against Palestinians.
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has been asked to open an investigation into the Israeli settler rampage in Hawara in the West Bank, where hundreds of settlers set dozens of homes and cars on fire and killed one Palestinian.
The violence followed the killings of two Israeli brothers from a nearby settlement.
Davidi Ben Zion, the Deputy Mayor of “Shomron” Regional Council (which has 35 illegal settlements in the West Bank under its control).
— Abier (@abierkhatib) February 27, 2023
The legal scholars argued that the words of Smotrich and far-right lawmakers Zvika Fogel and Limor Son Har-Melech may have violated international law by “inducing others to commit war crimes”.
Smotrich ‘liked’ a now-deleted tweet by David Ben Zion – the head of a regional council which governs 35 illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank – stating that “the village of Hawara should be wiped out today”.
Har-Melech, who belongs to the extreme-right Otzma Yehudit party visited Hawara on Sunday evening to support the settlers.
Fogel, who is also an MK for Otzma Yehudit, said Hawara should be “burned and closed” and that the settler violence against Palestinians acts as “deterrence”.