Israel’s security services are considered among the best in the world. But operational and intelligence errors led to the worst breakdown in Israeli defenses in half a century, the New York Times wrote. Thanks to these errors, it was possible for Palestinian Hamas to invade Israeli territory, the American daily added.
In its Tuesday publication, the New York Times cites the opinions of four anonymous Israeli security service officers.
According to the American Journal, there were several operational errors. These include, among others, the inability of Israeli services to monitor key communication channels of Palestinian Hamas.
It was also a mistake to rely too much on electronic border security equipment that could easily be destroyed by an attacker, and to gather Israeli military personnel in a single base on the Gaza border that was captured by Hamas terrorists shortly after the attack began.
The New York Times’ interlocutors also pointed out that the Israeli services took at face value the intercepted conversations of Palestinian commanders who said they were “not preparing for an attack.” The Palestinians may have known they were being wiretapped, deliberately misleading Israeli intelligence.
– We spend billions collecting intelligence on Hamas. And then everything fell like dominoes – said former member of the Israeli National Security Council Yoel Guzansky, quoted by the American daily.
Just before the attack
Palestinians crossed from the Gaza Strip to Israel on Saturday morning. Shortly before their advance, Israeli intelligence detected an increase in activity on Hamas’ monitored networks. Israeli intelligence sent a warning to soldiers guarding the border with Gaza. This warning – as reported by the New York Times – was ignored. There could be two reasons for this: the soldiers either did not receive this warning or did not read it.
“Shortly thereafter, Hamas sent drones to disable Israeli military cellular communications stations and observation towers along the border, preventing remote monitoring of the area via video cameras. The drones also destroyed remote-controlled machine guns that Israel had installed on its border fortifications. They were thus destroyed key means of countering a ground attack,” wrote the New York Times.
“This made it easier for Hamas attackers to approach the border fence, blow up parts of it and bulldoze it in several places with surprising ease, allowing thousands of Palestinians to pass through the breaches,” the American daily added.
Failures of the Israeli services
The New York Times recalled that the first failure of the Israeli services was recorded a few months before the attack, when their chiefs made incorrect assumptions about the extent of the threat Hamas posed to Israel from the Gaza Strip.
“Some time ago, when Israeli intelligence officials informed the heads of the security services about the most urgent threats to the country’s defense, they focused on the dangers posed by Lebanese fighters along Israel’s northern border. The challenge posed by Hamas was almost not mentioned,” the daily added, citing its interlocutors. .
According to the findings of the New York Times, Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on Palestinian conversations, which allegedly showed that Hamas allegedly wanted to avoid a new war with Israel after the devastating two-week conflict in May 2021. An investigation is currently underway as to whether these conversations were real or fake.
“Hamas exploited this weakness”
New York Times sources said Israel’s border surveillance system relies almost entirely on remotely controlled cameras, sensors and machine guns. Due to the excessive trust of the Israeli military command, the number of military personnel on this section of the border was reduced.
Hamas exploited this weakness by attacking cell phone towers with drones, and without cell signals the system was useless. Soldiers behind the front lines received no alert that the fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip had been breached. “This allowed more than 1,500 attackers from the Gaza Strip to break through at almost 30 points along the border,” the publication reported.
Israeli military command was concentrated in only one of the border bases, and most senior officers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. All this made a coordinated response impossible, the American daily added.
This also meant that it was difficult, especially at an early stage, to convey the seriousness of the situation to the military high command in Tel Aviv.
“The consequences were catastrophic for Israel’s security and potentially damaging to its reputation in the region as a reliable military partner,” said the New York Times.
Before Saturday, “Israel was an asset to many countries in the region in terms of security,” Yoel Guzansky said. – The current picture is that it is no longer so – he added, quoted by the American daily.
Main photo source: ATEF SAFADI/PAP/EPA