Another Israeli Soldier Admits to Implementing the ‘Hannibal Directive’ on October 7 – Jonathan Ofir 3/26/24


Captain Bar Zonshein recounts firing tank shells on vehicles carrying Israeli civilians on October 7. “I decide that this is the right decision, that it’s better to stop the abduction and that they not be taken,” he told Israeli media outlets.

In Israeli military terminology, the so-called “Hannibal Directive” is the policy of firing upon one’s own soldiers to avert a prospective captive situation.

There is a growing amount of evidence and testimony that suggests that on October 7, the Hannibal Directive was implemented, at least to a certain extent, on Israelis. What’s more, growing testimonies indicate that this policy was extended to Israeli civilians in the form of indiscriminate fire from helicopters and tanks. The recent outstanding Al Jazeera investigation, “October 7,” addresses this question at considerable length.

Last week, another testimony involving such acts appeared on Channel 13 and was repeated a day later on Ynet, in which an armored company commander, Captain Bar Zonshein, tells of how he fired tank shells at vehicles driving towards Gaza near Kisufim — about 2 kilometers away from the Gaza perimeter fence.

“We identified two pickups driving Toyotas, and on them, there was a large number of people standing in the cabin, and there was a pile of people. I don’t know whether they were corpses or living people…And I decide to attack these vehicles,” Zonshein says.

One must point out that Zonshien’s description of a “pile” of people could either be military or civilians, but those distinctions apparently did not factor into his calculations. This is, of course, significant in Israeli terms because the Hannibal doctrine had hitherto only been limited to soldiers.

The next part of Zonshein’s testimony, however, offers a revealing insight into his rationale for attacking the pickup trucks: “Because something in my gut feeling told me that they could be on them.”

In other words, Zonshein thought that his fellow soldiers might be among the captured — which is precisely why he opened fire.

The interviewer presses him, reaffirming they’re talking about the possibility of targeting soldiers. “Maybe you would have killed them. They are your soldiers.”

“Right,” Zonshien replies. “But I decide that this is the right decision, that it’s better to stop the abduction and that they not be taken.”

The interviewer then asks whether, in retrospect, he acted correctly.

“I feel that I acted correctly,” he replies.

Then the obvious question, and to the point: “Is this the order? A Hannibal order?” the interviewer urges.

Zonshein all but confirms it, using heavily suggestive language.

“In the order itself, a few operational steps need to be taken,” he says. “One needs to fire at central gathering points and [military] control points, and in case of identification [of one’s own soldiers], one needs to also do that thing.”

“That thing,” of course, is the Hannibal directive. …

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