Considering Israel’s substantial investment in its security apparatus, including one of the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies, it is surprising that they were caught off guard by an attack from a neighbouring area that is effectively isolated from the outside world.
Israeli intelligence agencies, renowned for their capabilities, have made significant investments in their security infrastructure, particularly in advanced communication interception methods. It is reasonable to assume that they also maintain a network of informants within the Palestinian territories. Given this, it is perplexing that they failed to anticipate and prevent a well-coordinated attack, such as the one that occurred last Saturday, especially when it originated from Gaza, a narrow strip of land approximately forty kilometres in length, largely cut off from external access.
Eyal Hulata, a former Israeli security adviser, commented on the situation, stating,
“This attack appears to have been in the planning for a significant period. It is evident that it was highly coordinated, catching us by tactical surprise and causing significant damage.”
As the dust settles, the investigation will undoubtedly focus on identifying vulnerabilities within the intelligence system. Dutch former spy Hugo Vijver highlighted, “There is undoubtedly an ‘intelligence failure,’ but it is overly simplistic to solely place the blame on intelligence services. The fault may not be theirs alone, as the intelligence process involves multiple stages.” He suggested that policymakers may also bear some responsibility.
One factor that could have contributed to the situation is the refusal of reservists within intelligence services to participate in protest against the policies of the Netanyahu government. This disruption may have further weakened the intelligence network’s effectiveness and responsiveness.