December 1, 2023

Israeli officers have promised a full investigation into what went improper.

Even earlier than that inquiry, it’s clear the assaults had been potential due to a cascade of failures over latest years — not hours, days or perhaps weeks. A New York Occasions examination, primarily based on dozens of interviews with Israeli, Arab, European and American officers, in addition to a evaluation of Israeli authorities paperwork and proof collected because the Oct. 7 raid, exhibits that:

  • Israeli safety officers spent months attempting to warn Mr. Netanyahu that the political turmoil brought on by his home insurance policies was weakening the nation’s safety and emboldening Israel’s enemies. The prime minister continued to push these insurance policies. On someday in July he even refused to satisfy a senior basic who got here to ship a risk warning primarily based on labeled intelligence, in accordance with Israeli officers.

  • Israeli officers misjudged the risk posed by Hamas for years, and extra critically within the run-up to the assault. The official evaluation of Israeli navy intelligence and the Nationwide Safety Council since Might 2021 was that Hamas had little interest in launching an assault from Gaza that may invite a devastating response from Israel, in accordance with 5 individuals acquainted with the assessments who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate delicate particulars. As an alternative, Israeli intelligence assessed that Hamas was attempting to foment violence in opposition to Israelis within the West Financial institution, which is managed by its rival, the Palestinian Authority.

  • The idea by Mr. Netanyahu and high Israeli safety officers that Iran and Hezbollah, its strongest proxy power, introduced the gravest risk to Israel diverted consideration and assets away from countering Hamas. In late September, senior Israeli officers instructed The Occasions they had been involved that Israel is likely to be attacked within the coming weeks or months on a number of fronts by Iran-backed militia teams, however made no point out of Hamas initiating a conflict with Israel from the Gaza Strip.

  • American spy businesses lately had largely stopped amassing intelligence on Hamas and its plans, believing the group was a regional risk that Israel was managing.

Total, vanity amongst Israeli political and safety officers satisfied them that the nation’s navy and technological superiority to Hamas would maintain the terrorist group in verify.

“They had been in a position to trick our assortment, our evaluation, our conclusions and our strategic understanding,” Eyal Hulata, Israel’s nationwide safety adviser from 2021 till early this yr, stated throughout a dialogue final week in Washington sponsored by the Basis for Protection of Democracies, a assume tank.

“I don’t assume there was anybody who was concerned with affairs with Gaza that shouldn’t ask themselves how and the place they had been additionally a part of this huge failure,” he added.

Many senior officers have accepted accountability, however Mr. Netanyahu has not. At 1 a.m. Sunday in Israel, after his workplace was requested for touch upon this text, he posted a message on X, previously Twitter, that repeated remarks he made to The New York Occasions and blamed the navy and intelligence providers for failing to supply him with any warning on Hamas.

“In no way and at no stage was Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of conflict intentions on the a part of Hamas,” the publish learn in Hebrew. “Quite the opposite, the evaluation of the complete safety echelon, together with the top of navy intelligence and the top of Shin Guess, was that Hamas was deterred and was looking for an association.”

Within the ensuing furor, Benny Gantz, a member of his conflict cupboard, publicly rebuked Mr. Netanyahu, saying that “management means displaying accountability,” and urged the prime minister to retract the publish. It was later deleted, and Mr. Netanyahu apologized in a brand new one.

On Sunday, Shin Guess promised a radical investigation after the conflict. The I.D.F. declined to remark.

The final time Israelis’ collective perception of their nation’s safety was equally devastated was 50 years earlier, in the beginning of the Yom Kippur Battle, when Israel was caught off guard by an assault by Egyptian and Syrian forces. In an echo of that assault, Hamas succeeded as a result of Israeli officers made most of the similar errors that had been made in 1973.

The Yom Kippur Battle was “a basic instance of how intelligence fails when the coverage and intelligence communities construct a suggestions loop that reinforces their prejudices and blinds them to adjustments within the risk surroundings,” Bruce Riedel, a former high Center East analyst on the Central Intelligence Company, wrote in a 2017 research paper concerning the 1973 conflict.

In an interview this month, Mr. Riedel stated that Mr. Netanyahu was reaping the implications of specializing in Iran because the existential risk to Israel whereas largely ignoring an enemy in his yard.

“Bibi’s message to Israelis has been that the true risk is Iran,” he stated, utilizing Mr. Netanyahu’s nickname. “That with the occupation of the West Financial institution and the siege of Gaza, the Palestinian difficulty is now not a risk to Israel’s safety. All of these assumptions had been shattered on Oct. 7.”

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