Defence ministers at NATO’s Brussels headquarters were horrified on Thursday as their Israeli colleague Yoav Gallant showed them “shocking” and “horrific” video from the Hamas attack on Israeli civilians, according to diplomats.
In retaliation for the bloodiest attack on Jewish citizens since the Holocaust, hundreds of terrorists crossed the border barrier and stormed surrounding Israeli settlements on Saturday, Israel has pledged to eliminate the Hamas organisation that administers Gaza.
The full scale of the killings has emerged since Israeli forces reclaimed control of the towns and kibbutzes, finding homes strewn with bodies. They say they found women who had been raped and killed, and children who were shot and burned.
Gallant, who remotely attended the one-hour NATO session, briefed ministers on the attack and showed them what the Times of Israel, which was the first to report on it, called an “uncensored video of Hamas atrocities”.
“It was horrific. It brought home to everyone the reality of what happened,” one Western diplomat said.
Another source spoke of “graphic and shocking footage” and described NATO allies as united in their support for Israel.
The video had “graphic elements” with “some blurring to protect the dignity of victims”, an official in the room said.
Ministers including Germany’s Boris Pistorius publicly said they would help Israel, granting an Israeli request to use two Heron TP combat drones for its counter-attack on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
“We stand by Israel’s side,” he told reporters, adding Germany would also consider a request for ammunition for ships.
Israel has also asked Germany whether it can provide flak jackets, medical supplies and treatment for wounded people at German hospitals, a defence source told Reuters, without giving further details.
In a statement after the session with Gallant, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared: “Israel does not stand alone.”
On Wednesday, Stoltenberg said Israel had the right to defend itself and NATO expected its response to the Hamas attack to be proportionate.
In the discussion among ministers on Thursday, only Turkey expressed a dissenting voice, refusing to condemn Hamas attacks as an act of terrorism, according to one source.
There was no immediate comment from the Turkish delegation to NATO or the Turkish foreign ministry.