Three weeks have passed since the Oct 7 Hamas offensive, in which more than 1,000 Israelis were killed.
Not since the Yom Kippur War of 1973 had Israel suffered a military blow so humiliating that it shook the Jewish state, and the world, to the core.
But something doesn’t add up. This was either the biggest military and intelligence failure in Israel’s 75-year history… or it was allowed to happen.
Israel has always been surrounded by hostile Arab neighbours. It is constantly on a war footing. The bitter lessons of the 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars are deeply burned in the Jewish consciousness. So deep that it’s hard to accept that Hamas had somehow managed to pull the wool over Tel Aviv’s eyes.
If you read military history, you would be familiar with the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, Operation Thunderbolt (the 1976 mission to rescue 103 Israeli hostages in Entebbe, Uganda), the Lebanon campaign of 1982, and the Bekaa Valley Turkey Shoot. The Israeli Defence Forces prides itself as a potent fighting force, using cutting-edge technology, employing the best and the brightest, and using every trick and tool in the book, to accomplish its objectives. It thinks ‘outside of the box’, and is not afraid to fight dirty.
So creative are they that they have a special unit staffed by those with autism, because they can pick up minute changes, shifts, or movements in the soil, based on surveillance imagery. That’s how they managed to identify and locate Hamas underground tunnels.
Israel is also arguably the most surveilled piece of real estate on Earth. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, in every street corner. Border outposts are heavily manned, with perimeter fencing, watch towers, and anti-personnel mines. They are also equipped with the finest sensors to detect any breach or incursion.
The IDF’s cybersecurity unit, Unit 8200, is supposed to be the best in the world at what they do. Want to crack a code or break a high-level security encryption? Done. Cripple the enemy’s key strategic infrastructure? Say no more. Tap into their comms, computer system, or national grid? All sorted. Next tasking, please.
What’s strange is that when the border wall was being breached, in at least 15 locations, and Hamas fighters were pouring in en masse across the border, the IDF somehow did not pick them up on their radars, electro-optical, thermal, and other surveillance sensors. The IDF also operates a battery of Aerostat blimps that provide round-the-clock surveillance of their borders. Yet somehow, all these were not brought into play on Oct 7.
For seven straight hours, Hamas fired thousands of rockets, struck deep inside Israel, killed civilians, and brought more than 200 hostages back to Gaza. They did all this, virtually unopposed. How is that possible in a country that is constantly on a war footing, where reservists can be mobilised in less than 24 hours, where their troops, even off-duty ones, are always armed with their M-4 carbines? Israel’s surveillance radars can pick up small, low flying objects from standoff ranges. But somehow, they failed to pick up Hamas fighters in slow-flying paragliders. How was all this possible when Israel has one of the most sophisticated, integrated network-centric battlespace management infrastructures in the world?
How could the attack go on, unmolested, for seven long hours? Why weren’t AH-64D Apache attack helicopters scrambled to take out Hamas fighters rolling across the desert in pickup trucks?
Why were Israel’s crack units – Sayeret Matkal, Yamam, Shayatet 13, the Golani Brigade, the 89th Oz Brigade, and Maglan – not mobilised within the first few hours of the attack? Why didn’t they set up checkpoints to stop Hamas from bringing the hostages back to Gaza?
They would have had seven hours to do so… that’s plenty of time; if they had wanted to. Sayeret Matkal, Yamam, Shayatet 13, the Golani Brigade, the 89th Oz Brigade, and Maglan are all SpecOps, or SpecOps-capable units, trained in counterterrorism and hostage rescue. It should have been easy for them to intercept Hamas cells and rescue the hostages.
Why weren’t the Heyl Ha’Avir (Israeli Air Force) scrambled? Why weren’t their UAVs (Elbit Hermes 450/900) sent up to provide real-time surveillance footage/intel in the areas affected, the minute the first Hamas waves breached the security wall? Why didn’t their hunter-killer UAVs take out key Hamas targets in the attack, or strike at the fleeing raiders making their way back to Gaza?
One of the biggest questions is how the IDF had somehow failed to intercept Hamas radio traffic, prior to the attacks. Somehow, Israel wants the world to believe that it did not know, or see, this coming. For years, the IDF took pride in its ability to intercept, tap into, or jam enemy comms at will. Now, all of the sudden, they didn’t notice changes in the comms traffic, behavioural patterns of key Hamas leaders, and shifts in movement or operational tempo preceding the attack? Suddenly, they had zero HUMINT, SIGINT, GEOINT and IMINT? Too easy. Too convenient.
And what about Israel’s much-vaunted intelligence agency, the Mossad? The same Mossad that orchestrated and carried out the kidnapping of senior Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann in 1960; that hunted down the architects of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre; that tracked down and killed two Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon in a joint operation with the IDF in August, 2019. Suddenly, Mossad dropped the ball?
Whatever the reason, this gives Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (whose brother, Yonatan ‘Yoni’ Netanyahu, was the only fatality in the Entebbe raid) carte blanche to kill as many Palestinians as he wants, drive them out of Gaza, and seize more land.
The Israelis need an excuse to annex the whole of Gaza and expand the Jewish homeland. This provides the perfect excuse to destroy and ‘cleanse’ Gaza of Palestinians. The loss of Israeli life, while unfortunate, is ‘collateral damage’, the casualties of war. If viewed from the standpoint of Israel’s long-term strategic aims, it may have even been ‘necessary’.
The likelihood of the Israelis getting caught with their pants down on Oct 7, is highly improbable, if you factor in the sophistication of its military. Most likely, this is part of a long-term strategic move to eject the Palestinians from Gaza and push them deep into the Sinai in Egypt, creating a Palestinian state in the Sinai. This is the ‘red line’ for Egypt. Cairo will never allow for the ‘Palestinisation’ of the Sinai.
Another reason could be to settle an old score with an old arch-nemesis, Iran.
Both the United States and Israel regard Iran as the only remaining challenge to their dominance in the region. Both have long accused Tehran of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’. In dealing decisively with Iran, the US would have settled old scores, dating from the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-1981. Israel, meanwhile, would finally be able to secure its northern flank – Lebanon – from the Hezbollah, which Tel Aviv claims is funded and trained by Iran.
Were the Oct 7 attacks by Hamas ‘allowed’ to happen, to provide justification for what will unfold in the coming weeks? Or was it a total intelligence failure, the biggest military blunder since the Yom Kippur War?
If it’s the former, it certainly won’t be the first time this has happened. The most famous incident happened on Aug 2, 1964, on a patch of open sea in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam.