Hamas groomed an army of angry, insecure, wife-beating psychopaths and gave them permission to rape, mutilate and kill Israeli men, women, and children. The terror organization drugged these psychopaths, told them to videotape their atrocities, and offered them a $10,000 reward for taking hostages. Hamas savages were high on captagon, Israeli blood, and visions of martyrdom. They believed that they were heroes righting wrongs and injustices by killing and violating the “oppressors” who stole and occupy their land.
The October 7th attack on Israel can be partly attributed to the red-green alliance of radical leftists and Islamists who foster a cult of Palestinian victimhood. The coalition of radicals that divide the world into oppressors and oppressed has generated one of the most successful long-term global information operations by making the Palestinian-Israeli conflict a cause célèbre. Decades of calculated anti-American, anti-Zionist, anti-capitalist, anti-colonialist, oppressor-themed propaganda has resulted in “Palestinian solidarity” and support from Americans and people around the world. Disinformation campaigns combined with shame-based indoctrination techniques facilitated Oct. 7th — and its aftermath of worldwide antisemitic, anti-Israel protests and hate crimes.
The propaganda strategy portraying Palestinians as helpless victims against Israeli aggression is calculated to evoke deep-seated feelings of humiliation and shame that prompts violence. The Palestinians, similar to many other Muslim Arab males, belong to what is referred to as an ‘Honor – Shame’ culture, in which men are in a constant struggle with fear of dishonor and maintaining “reputation.” Emotions of weakness, helplessness and shame are always just below the surface, triggered by a hypersensitivity to any real or perceived act of humiliation. Honor and reputation are everything and can only be restored through violent bloodshed which washes away the insult.
Palestinian men who are continually portrayed in the media as weak, powerless, demeaned, and humiliated by Israel often relieve their feeling of shame and inadequacy by beating their wives. This is exemplified by the extremely high rate of Palestinian domestic violence. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2019, over seventy percent of the women in the Gaza Strip were exposed to violence from their husbands. The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) attributes Gender Based Violence in Gaza to ‘traditional patriarchal norms and values’ and then justifies violence against women by blaming Israel for frustrating Gazan men.
Domestic Violence is very prevalent in honor-shame cultures and is referred to as honor violence and honor killing. Honor violence is extremely brutal and includes everything from beating, raping, shooting, stabbing, strangling, hanging, and worse. The women’s offenses typically include being too westernized, refusing an arranged marriage, not being properly covered, or just posting a photo on social media. If Palestinian men are willing to beat, rape, and murder their own wives, sisters, and daughters who have allegedly brought dishonor upon the family, it is not surprising that they committed extreme sexual atrocities, murder, and mutilation against Israelis whom they perceive as the primary cause of their dishonor.
During the October 7th attack on Israel, Hamas terrorists raped, gang-raped, beheaded, burned, mutilated, disfigured, and tortured men, women, children, the elderly and the disabled. Hamas terrorists chopped off fingers, arms and feet, gouged out eyes, obliterated faces and tied up dozens of people — including children — before burning them alive. They cut an unborn baby out of a pregnant woman, stabbed the baby with a knife and shot the mother in the head. Sexual atrocities included targeting the genitalia of male and female victims, cutting off breasts, castrating men, and shooting women in the vagina. The body of one woman had “nails and different objects in her female organs.”
Girls were so brutally gang-raped that their pelvic bones were broken. For Hamas terrorists, rape is not just a weapon of war, it is a way to alleviate their feelings of inadequacy, prove their manhood, demonstrate what they think signifies superior masculinity, and to ridicule, taunt and torment Israeli men who are unable, at gunpoint, to protect their women and children.
Symbolically, raping women in war signifies conquered territory and the rape of a nation. During their attack, Hamas terrorists raped not only women but men as well. The symbolic meaning of male-on-male rape is that the victims are being turned into women, which from a Palestinian hypermasculine and homophobic culture is one of the worst forms of humiliation. For Palestinians, shame is experienced as female traits of weakness. Hamas terrorists raped and tortured Israeli men to expunge their own hidden shame and project their humiliation onto their alleged oppressors. Similar to prison culture, the victims become their “bitch.” The rationale is, “he, and not me, is actually the woman.”
Hamas terrorists also castrated many of the Israeli men. According to testimony by a female police officer at a presentation to the United Nations, men were shot in their genitalia. The officer added, “They had a thing with sexual organs — both in women and in men, either amputation or targeted shooting [to that part of the body].” Male sexual organs symbolize masculinity, strength, and the reproduction of more enemy occupiers. Dishonor is signified by female qualities; hence, castration is the ultimate symbol of emasculation and implies that the victim is no longer a man. Historically, castration was used to eliminate potential opponents.
Hamas terrorists also tortured, sexually mutilated, and disfigured Israeli female soldiers. A member of an Israeli military reserve unit reported that several of the female soldiers who were killed on Oct. 7 “were shot in the crotch, intimate parts, vagina, or were shot in the breast.” “Others had mutilated faces, or multiple gunshots to their heads.” Women soldiers are particularly offensive to Hamas because they signify the epitome of emasculation. For Palestinian men who by tradition oppress their women, Israeli female soldiers are a mockery of their masculinity. Women who can defend themselves are an existential threat that undermines Palestinian entire patriarchal culture. Their worst fear is being killed by a woman, an enemy or one of their own.
Many Israeli victims’ faces were mutilated or entirely obliterated. It was reported that heads were often badly disfigured. “Heads and faces were covered in blood. They were shot in the eyes, face, and skull,” “It seems as if mutilation of these women’s faces was an objective in their murders.” Some had their “heads bashed in so badly that their brains were spilling out.” Some “were shot in the head so many times at close range that their heads were almost blown off.”
Facial mutilation is the archetypal sign of dishonor. A mutilated victim is forever stigmatized, a personification of shame, a visible sign of dishonor and a political advertisement for who is in power. Symbolically, to damage or defile the face is to damage reputation and honor. It is a literal loss of face.
Hamas terrorists also gouged out and shot many Israelis in the eyes. While torturing a family of four, including a young boy and girl, 6 and 8 years old, the father’s eye was gouged out in front of his kids. The mother’s breast was “cut off, the girl’s foot amputated, the boy’s fingers cut off before they were executed.” Gouging out eyes is a common form of Jihadist mutilation. Symbolically, shame resides in the eyes because you can only be shamed in the eyes of others. So, destroying eyes is destroying shame. For Hamas terrorists, their imagined disrespect is experienced as shame that originates and resides in the eyes of the innocent Israeli victims. In order to alleviate their feelings of humiliation and restore a sense of honor, Hamas terrorists have to destroy the organs that saw it. The mutilation of eyes is the manifestation of “see no evil.”
Hamas’ sexual atrocity, murder and mutilation is a deliberate desecration of the enemy. Castration, hacking off breasts, disfigurement, and dismemberment represent power and control of the body at the moment of death. The slow defilement of the body prevented Israeli victims from having any dignity in death. In the context of an honor shame culture, Israeli victims are always potential witnesses to Palestinians unspoken and imagined shame. By killing Israelis, Palestinians kill their own shame. Without the witnesses, Palestinian shame no longer exists. Hamas’ humiliation of Israelis transforms into Palestinian pride. Murder feels good.
For Hamas terrorists, torture and murder is not immoral but righteous blood vengeance that restores honor to Palestine. Culturally, the violence is sanctioned as a socially acceptable punishment for enemy occupiers. The blood of enemies washes away dishonor, and proves to the world that Palestinians are not weak victims. This is, in part, why they filmed everything — because they want the world to view them as strong fighters who have reclaimed their honor. Torturing, raping, and killing Israelis elevates them from men ashamed of their status in life into respected ruthless warriors recognized and celebrated by other terrorist groups and antisemitic extremists around the world.
Hamas shame is not the result of alleged Israeli oppression. It is the direct result of information operation strategies that portray Palestinians as helpless victims against Israeli aggression. You can only be shamed in the eyes of others; without disinformation, there is no dishonor. The problem is not that Palestinians have no shame, it is that they have too much, and it is fabricated.
Dawn Perlmutter is the Director of the Symbol Intelligence Group and one of the leading subject matter experts (SME) in symbols, symbolic anthropological methodologies, semiotics, atypical homicide and ritualistic crimes.