As heavy Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues for a sixth day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have said they are degrading Hamas' ability to rule, with spokesman Daniel Hagari stating, "In certain areas, the organization can no longer rule and we will continue until this is the case throughout."
Hagari has also said that "Israel is targeting those who filmed and broadcast Hamas's murderous invasion of southern Israel on Saturday morning. Overnight, the military killed Mustafa Shahin, a Hamas operative the IDF identified from footage online."
However, one wonders: if Israel's military and intelligence is this efficient at positively identifying Hamas operatives and their residences or hideouts in the middle of a war unfolding, how was Saturday's large-scale incursion - in which jihadists even took over IDF outposts - able to happen? How was it not foreseen (and with the widely reported Egyptian advanced warning to boot)?
There's been growing anger among the Israeli populace at the many failures of the Netanyahu government to protect them:
An angry Israel mother, Hadas Calderon, whose two children and their father were kidnapped to the Gaza Strip:— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) October 11, 2023
"I want the Prime Minister [Netanyahu] to shed a tear, to tell me that he cares for them. Where is the government? shame"
And in his first statement since the war's outbreak, IDF Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi, issued a rare statement of regret for failing to foresee and stop the Hamas massacres of Israelis on Saturday: "the IDF is responsible for the security of the state and its citizens, and on Saturday morning, in the Gaza border communities, we did not fulfill that responsibility. We will learn, investigate, but now it is a time for war."
This is being widely perceived as an unprecedented apology by Israel's military leadership for its failure to protect the citizenry. According to the latest mounting casualty numbers:
• The Israeli death toll has risen to 1,200, including 189 soldiers, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.
• At least 1,400 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli airstrikes, with more than 6,268 others injured, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
• At least 25 U.S. citizens were among those killed, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.
Halevi added, "We will reach a situation where those who lead Gaza will face severe consequences; we will dismantle it. Those who remain there should understand very well that such actions are not taken against the State of Israel. It will take time, and it requires patience."
Earlier in the week Israeli defense sources had acknowledged to multiple Western media outlets, notably among them The New York Times, that its intelligence failed on multiple fronts.
The Times wrote, "These operational failures and weaknesses were among a wide array of logistical and intelligence lapses by the Israeli security services that paved the way for the Gazan incursion into southern Israel, according to four senior Israeli security officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss a sensitive matter and their early assessment of what went wrong."
In total some 20 Israeli towns, Kibbutz settlements, and army bases were overrun in the country's single deadliest 24-hours in its history. Speaking to four Israeli security officials, NYT also outlined that the wave of lapses included:
Failure by intelligence officers to monitor key communication channels used by Palestinian attackers;
Overreliance on border surveillance equipment that was easily shut down by attackers, allowing them to raid military bases and slay soldiers in their beds;
Clustering of commanders in a single border base that was overrun in the opening phase of the incursion, preventing communication with the rest of the armed forces;
And a willingness to accept at face value assertions by Gazan military leaders, made on private channels that the Palestinians knew were being monitored by Israel, that they were not preparing for battle.
And then there's this epic line in the report: "We spend billions and billions on gathering intelligence on Hamas," Yoel Guzansky, a former senior official of Israel’s National Security Council, said. "Then, in a second, everything collapsed like dominoes."
🚨FOOTAGE: The Israeli army displays its ammunition and says that it will attack Gaza with all of this ammunition.— Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) October 12, 2023
Source: Bader pic.twitter.com/ZuF6gjGGP9
Meanwhile, other top Israeli minister's are issuing public apologies:
Israel’s education minister, whose portfolio has nothing to do with keeping the country safe, became the first government official to apologize for the intelligence failures that allowed Hamas militants to slaughter an estimated 1,300 people over the weekend in a savage surprise attack that has plunged the region into war.
"No one will escape responsibility. We are responsible—I am responsible as a member of the government," Yoav Kisch told Ynet Live on Thursday.
"We were busy with nonsense," said Kisch, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, in a reference to divisive political battles that had split Israeli society for the past year.
Some online pundits have theorized that Netanyahu may have known some kind of major Hamas attack was coming but turned a blind eye, in order to justify a military policy of obliterating and then taking over the Gaza Strip. They are questioning how Mossad, one of the most sophisticated, celebrated, and high-tech intel agencies in the world - could have been "asleep at the wheel" to this level of catastrophic failure.
The #Israeli security agency is checking the possibility that #Hamas hacked the facebook account of the organizer of the festival that was attacked on Saturday by the group. The organizer had his Facebook account hacked a few weeks before the festival.— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) October 12, 2023
Meanwhile, the controversy continues as it has entered US Congress:
Israel on Thursday denied a claim from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) that Egyptian intelligence warned Israel about the wide-scale Hamas terror attack three days before it happened.
He called the story "fake news and false propaganda that is published with the aim of scaring us and dividing us," as translated. He also said Egyptian intelligence "did not exist and was not created."
But for now the Netanyahu-Gantz emergency war time government can simply tell the public to "shut-up" because "we're at war".