What Level Of Responsibility Must Netanyahu Take For October 7th?

As much as Hamas played its part on October 7th, let’s not forget that the Israeli government has shown no regard for its civilians and protecting them, which is an opinion held by many Israelis.

A family member of a hostage said in November; ‘If there is harm done to the hostages, the blood will be on your hands’. This piece isn’t minimising Hamas’ role in this or the violence that they enacted in October, but instead asking the question of how this recent trend of conflict could have all been prevented.

Many protestors have now often gathered in Tel Aviv to voice their discontent at how the Netanyahu government has handled the hostage crisis, citing the need for a peace deal. These are largely organised by the ‘Standing Together Movement’, co-director of the foundation Alon-Lee Green but also many more groups. Here are some of the feelings of one protestor, Itay, voicing his anger at the current situation.

Seemingly we are told that the Israel intelligence service is one of the best in the world. So why was the response time so slow to respond to Hamas attacks? According to the NY Times, it was a minimum response of eight hours. Put it this way, if you are a leader of a state and you hear your people are under attack would you wait so long to send more troops to defend your citizens? It doesn’t make any sense.

While Netanyahu has not taken any responsibility for the defence at the Kibbutz Be’eri community and what happened at the Nova festival, the head of Israeli military intelligence Israel, Aharon Haliva, has resigned as of the 22nd of April due to the consequences of the horrific events that took place. He states in his resignation letter that he struggles to live down what transpired at both the Kibbutz and Festival, and that his unit under his stewardship “did not live up to the task we were entrusted with.”

What we can now deduce from this is that something went wrong leading up to Hamas’ planned attack and we need a full report of; what intelligence was received and how and why this information was handled poorly.

The Intelligence On The Ground

 If you look deeper into it, it is suggested that Israel knew this attack was coming as confirmed by soldiers on the ground and intelligence reports (Source: CBS News).

Michael McCaul, who is in the US House of Representatives, confirmed that a warning was given by Egypt to the Israeli government three days before October 7th of a Hamas attack according to BBC reports. Despite Netanyahu claiming these reports to be fake, they seem very much real from the available sources. Something in this does not add up as to why he would ignore such a threat. One thing is for certain, Netanyahu must be held to account for being deliberately negligent of what the consensus of information was believed to be.

The IDF’s Conduct

The IDF has also done a poor job of ensuring the safety of the hostages. Three innocent hostages were killed by the IDF according to The Guardian in December. The hostages were even waving a white flag and speaking in Hebrew, and despite this, they were shot at by their own ‘patriots’. This is not the first time such careless actions have been taken out by the IDF as Kibbutz survivor Yasmin Porat said the same incident happened while she was a hostage in October, shooting in her direction without a care in the world for her safety.

A freed Israeli hostage said to the war cabinet in a meeting, “I see you’re bombing there, and you have no idea where the hostages are… We sat in the tunnels, and we were terrified that it wouldn’t be Hamas but Israel that would kill us” (sources from The Wire and YNET). A similar video here posted by Middle East Eye shows a family member of a hostage talking about the same issue.

This is reckless behaviour that one would not take if one wished to set their people free. The clear goal it seems of the IDF is the destruction of Gaza and in that, they aren’t considering their people’s lives. We can only ponder, what are the instructions that the soldiers are being given from above?

People Need The Truth

The Youtube channel/podcast ‘Trigonometry’ and more specifically its host Konstantin Kisin asks the question to Palestinian protestors (in London) and Bassem Youssef in a recent interview; ‘If you were the prime minister of Israel, how would you respond to October 7th and such deadly attacks?’

Konstantin is asking the wrong question. He makes it seem as if this conflict was inevitable and that the only response could’ve been war. If you start from October 7th with no context then, of course, it may seem like war was a foregone conclusion. But the question Konstantin should be asking is ‘if you are the prime minister of Israel, how could you have prevented these attacks in the days leading up to October 7th?’

Asking Konstantin’s original question absolves any responsibility for Netanyahu and the intelligence reports it seems he ignored. And this isn’t even taking into consideration the policies of oppression that Netanyahu has enacted against Palestinians for years (and how he could’ve acted differently), but purely on the key moments before the Hamas attacks.

There must be a clear investigation and report into why these reports of intelligence were dismissed. It doesn’t make any logical or coherent sense. Could a leader of a country be so naive? Did he not believe the reports or was he so arrogant to think it wasn’t a real threat?  Either way, this is not how a head of state responds to any form of perceived threat, even if it hasn’t happened yet. One would take such news with the utmost severity and expand the level of security on its borders. The more that is left unanswered, the more it gives off this being an opportune moment to expand Israeli territory as opposed to protecting its people for Netanyahu. In 2019 Netanyahu said:

“Anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state has to support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas… This is part of our strategy—to isolate the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the West Bank.”

This is not a good look for the Likud Leader in the face of what is currently going on and at the very least calls into question his poor judgement as a leader. These comments have certainly not aged well to talk about the “support” of Hamas, considering the government now sees the group as an enemy. And let us not forget, this was only four or five years ago.

One thing is for certain, Netanyahu is not in the slightest a popular figure by any stretch of the imagination on either the Israeli or Palestinian side especially. He faces charges of complete incompetence as a leader on one side and war crimes on the other. As I mentioned in a previous article, he faces charges of corruption and scandal which seems to have gone away since the war began. It is therefore imperative that he is held accountable for all his actions and the orders which he has given the Israeli army.

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