For several dozen hours, Israel and the world have been asking themselves one question – how could this attack not be prevented? Israeli intelligence has a reputation as one of the best in the world. Now it has committed perhaps the greatest oversight and omission in its history. There are also huge grievances against the civil authorities – so busy with current internal politics in recent months.
They were unprepared, they had no leaks. – I must admit that we were surprised. We need to find out how this happened. Generally, in military history there are always great surprises, such as Pearl Harbor, Operation Barbarossa, the Yom Kippur War – says Naftali Bennett, former Prime Minister of Israel.
Many people ask themselves the same questions: how is it possible that Israeli intelligence – considered one of the best in the world – and the Israeli army, which has become a technological power for decades, allowed themselves – to put it bluntly – to be played. How did terrorists from one of the world’s poorest enclaves manage to carry out such a devastating attack? How could the government in Tel Aviv overlook what is happening in the tiny Gaza Strip – smaller in area than Warsaw?
– Unfortunately, this Hamas operation was a success. She was well coordinated. They kept it secret, we knew nothing about it, despite the fact that our excellent intelligence service operates there and has not failed in previous years, admits Efraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad.
Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, billions of dollars have been spent sealing the border. In cooperation with the United States, an air defense system called Iron Dome was also created. Intelligent security systems were also constantly developed. Perhaps too much was relied on – this is one of the hypotheses of a former Israeli general quoted by the AP agency. “Amir Avivi, a retired Israeli general, said that without a foothold in Gaza, Israeli security services are increasingly relying on technology to gather intelligence. He said that militants have found ways to circumvent intelligence-gathering methods, giving Israel an incomplete picture of their intentions,” AP reports.
Reasons for intelligence failure
There are at least several elements that could have contributed to what happened on Saturday. The events of recent months are certainly not without significance, i.e. the internal conflict over the forced changes in the judiciary by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, which triggered powerful citizen protests in defense of the rule of law. – The question is whether they really did not notice what was happening, or whether it was simply decided at some level not to pay attention to it, because the government was primarily busy suppressing the protests of its citizens lasting for months – says Agnieszka Miszewska, former ambassador Polish Republic in Israel.
– We have no reason to delude ourselves that it was not known, that the government did not know about it. The government knew very well. However, for about a year, less than a year, it has been immersed in conflict with its own society, but also with its own military services and intelligence services – adds Karolina Obajniewska, editor-in-chief of euroactiv.pl.
According to experts, the government was also focused on the crises in the West Bank. – It was focused on these crises, Israeli-Palestinian micro-crises, so the attention was focused elsewhere, and this section of the Gaza Strip, i.e. the southern one, had such a minimal view – says Dr. Agnieszka Bryc, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.
Perhaps the Israeli military also felt too confident, underestimated the enemy’s determination, and disregarded him, considering the threat insignificant. – It will be the psychological factor that will be indicated as one of the reasons for the intelligence failure – emphasizes Łukasz Fyderek, Ph.D., Institute of the Middle and Far East, Jagiellonian University.
In this way, under the noses of the services, hundreds, if not thousands, of Hamas fighters have been preparing for war for months. And the results of this failure may have disastrous consequences for a long time to come.
Facts about the World TVN24 BiS
Main photo source: Reuters