Several female soldiers from ‘s border surveillance forces, known as the tatzpitaniyot, claim that their alerts about unusual activity in Gaza were ignored by security chiefs.
These warnings, including sightings of Palestinian guerrillas training with explosives and rehearsing attacks, allegedly went unnoticed in the lead-up to the Hamas attacks on October 7.
The soldiers’ accusations are putting pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is al onslaught to take place.
The female soldiers argue that their superiors dismissed their concerns, with some top commanders allegedly downplaying the possibility of a Hamas attack and ordering them to stop being overly alarmed.
The tatzpitaniyot, responsible for monitoring a stretch of land using security cameras and sensors, reported signs of unusual activity along the Gaza border.
This included Hamas sending up drones frequently in the weeks leading up to the attack and conducting training for assaults. Despite these reports, the soldiers claim they were ignored and told to stop raising alarms.
Maya Desiatnik, one of the tatzpitaniyots on duty, said: “It’s infuriating. We saw what was happening, we told them about it, and we were the ones who were murdered.”
The soldiers’ statements not only raise questions about the handling of intelligence but also suggest a possible complacency within the Israeli government regarding the threat posed by Hamas in Gaza.
Some critics even argue that Netanyahu’s approach might have inadvertently contributed to Hamas’s actions.
The accusations challenge the prevailing belief that Hamas had been subdued, and the female soldiers claim their warnings did not align with the narrative that Hamas had become more institutionalised and pragmatic.
The criticism extends beyond Netanyahu, implicating senior politicians and military and intelligence chiefs who, according to some analysts, subscribed to a wishful thinking that governing would moderate Hamas.
Michael Milshtein, head of the Department for Palestinians Affairs in Israel’s Defence Intelligence agency, told POLITICO: “Senior politicians from across the political spectrum, including Naftali Bennett, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, bought into the idea, and it was also promoted by the Israel Defence Forces. Shabak [Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service] was skeptical at first but then toes the line.
“The narrative become entrenched in the upper echelons of Israeli politics and was subscribed to by top military and intelligence chiefs. Governing was meant to moderate Hamas and the warnings didn’t fit in. But it was all wishful thinking.”
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