Oct 7 Hamas Attack: Assessing IDF Vulnerabilities and Failures

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Oct 7 Attack of Hamas highlights the Israeli absence of preparedness and weak initial response to the Militants. According to the assessments, IDF encountered critical failures. The IDF appeared undermanned, ill-prepared, and so severely organized that soldiers intercommunicated in improvised WhatsApp groups and depended on social media posts to obtain information. Commandos poured into battle armed only for short combat. Helicopter pilots were instructed to look at news descriptions and Telegram channels to pick targets.

“In practice, there wasn’t the right defensive preparation, no practice, and no equipping and building strength for such an operation,” stated Yom Tov Samia, a major general in the Israeli reserves and former head of the military’s Southern Command.

The first and foremost reason for the Oct. 7 attack was the intelligence failure. Israeli security agencies, particularly the Directorate of Military Intelligence (AMAN) and the Israeli Security Agency (SHABAK, also widely comprehended as Shin Bet), admitted their weaknesses. SHABAK’s director, Ronen Bar, took the blame for Oct. 16. It was followed a day after by Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliwa of AMAN. The intelligence collapse was systemic. At a strategic approach, Israel mistook Hamas’ goals, with some in the security infrastructure wrongly assuming that the need for quasi-sovereignty in Gaza would push the organization more practical and potentially alter its principles. 

The 2017 policy paper published by Hamas was considered by some in Israel and abroad as a possible sign of change. Hamas’ choice not to confront Israel during its two last significant armed clashes with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza was viewed by many in Israel as additional proof of Hamas’ sensible approach. 

Further, Israel’s security establishment failed to predict the attack design and its timing. The bitter taste of collapse in Israel is significantly pronounced, believing that the country’s intelligence agencies have relished abundant resources and demonstrated their usefulness in near and distant theaters for decades. As in previous Israeli and global intelligence failures, it appears Israel had some details, but its intelligence mechanisms did not piece it concurrently and allocate a warning.

Another critical aspect of the failure was the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operational readiness. The organization appears to lack clear plans for addressing such a widespread attack. Israel was taken by surprise by the significant and brutal aggression on civilian communities or the vast rave party that took place near the border. 

A further shock was Hamas’ influence campaign accompanying the raids, which included the ample use of cameras by the attackers, recording their actions, which members of the international human rights community have already started to recognize as war crimes. 

Others in the international community, such as U.S. President Joe Biden, resembled Hamas’ actions to the brutality portrayed by ISIS. Israel was additionally taken aback by some of the tactical military elements of the attack, including the throwing of sensors, attacks on Israeli command-and-control posts, and the straightforward breach of the fence constructed on the Israel-Gaza border.

Moreover, Military Establishment failure involved the state’s ineffective response to the crisis, negligibly in the initial stage. Many Israelis were greatly disappointed by the troop’s inability to come to the help of the 1,000 civilians who were killed, the thousands injured, and the roughly 220 kidnapped to Gaza. In some circumstances, military muscles could only regain control more than 24 hours after the attack commenced. 

This general understanding of ineptitude was fueled by an underwhelming leadership reaction, including delivering information and comforting the public as the crisis evolved, lessening the absorption of internally displaced people, or presenting financial support and social services. The prime minister, usually a competent speaker, did not engage with the public and — to date — has yet to accept any responsibility for what occurred on his watch.

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