As Israel is mounting a terrestrial counter-operation against Hamas, a Palestinian political and military organization that controls the Gaza Strip, questions linger over why Israeli intelligence and security forces had been unable to anticipate the 7 October attacks and whether reports about his knowledge of the attack are true.
Israeli intelligence agencies have cultivated an air of invincibility through a series of remarkable accomplishments over the years. Israel has successfully thwarted schemes originating in the West Bank, purportedly pursued Hamas operatives in Dubai, and faced accusations of eliminating Iranian nuclear scientists within Iran itself. Even in moments of setback, these institutions have managed to preserve their reputation.
Aman, the military intelligence directorate, and Mossad, the agency responsible for foreign intelligence work, were suspiciously quiet on the issue and it’s not clear whether they knew about Hamas’ plans.
The proportions of the assault suggest that it had been meticulously prepared in advance during a long period, therefore the silence of Israeli intelligence and security services – which are respected for their extensive knowledge of enemies’ intentions – hardly can be explained.
A view from Gaza today. Credit: Axios
Although the Tzahal (Israeli defense forces) was unprepared for a conflict of such scale, the argument that Israel was taken off guard is a very bleak explanation, given that the country has been under frequent attacks by Islamic militants and fought 17 wars and armed conflicts with its neighbors since its inception in 1948.
Premier Benjamin Netanyahu himself had served in the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit (known as Sayeret Markal) in 1967-1973, advancing to the rank of captain in the Israeli defense forces before being honorably discharged.
Was Netanyahu informed of the operation?
The largest Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been informed of the preparations for “something unusual, terrible operation” by Egyptian Intelligence Minister Abbas Kamel, ten days prior to the attack.
The warning was also published by the Associated Press.