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The real reason for October 7 - political delusion

A large poster reading the names of victims murdered at Kfar Aza in the October 7 massacre, when thousands of Hamas terrorists infiltrated the country. Jan. 3, 2024. (Photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

When hopes are pinned upon the way we would like things to be, rather than the way they are, that is the moment when delusion takes over, deceptively causing us to put faith in our wishes, blinding us to reality.

This is what likely happened pre-October 7, despite new reports that our intel failed to catch the glaring signs that everyone should have seen but to which no one paid proper attention. 

So now the questions being asked, as we try to reconstruct the events that led to Israel’s worst attack ever, since her inception as a nation, is whether there was truly an “egregious failure that transcended mere oversight, a catastrophic lapse in judgment and responsibility, indicative of personal, even criminal negligence on the part of senior officers” or “an error and systemic flaw rooted in decisions made long ago?”

To state that the October 7 massacre, during which Hamas slaughtered over 1,200 innocents, was a direct result of failure to catch crucial intelligence, reduces the findings to a very one-dimensional and simplistic explanation which, although much easier and less painful to accept, completely ignores the political delusion which deliberately led to the refusal to absorb that intelligence in its proper light.

A comprehensive investigation into the causes of October 7 has been undertaken, with the promise of true accountability, but if that is to happen, it will require exposing many willful deceptions that were assumed in order to perpetuate a preferred narrative that sought to bring about the impossible - Middle-East peace between Israel and the terrorists who have been diametrically opposed to the acceptance of a Jewish state in their midst.

But now the first tranche of the investigation is in, and it reveals that there was a major intelligence failure from Unit 8200, the largest intelligence military unit, which was found to be derelict in its responsibility of sounding the alarm to warn the country of impending danger. But is that really the end of the story?

An article, which appeared in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, just days after the tragic events claims, “Netanyahu developed and advanced a destructive, warped political doctrine that held that strengthening Hamas at the expense of the Palestinian Authority would be good for Israel. The purpose of the doctrine was to perpetuate the rift between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. That would preserve the diplomatic paralysis and forever remove the ‘danger’ of negotiations with the Palestinians over the partition of Israel into two states – on the argument that the Palestinian Authority doesn’t represent all the Palestinians.”

Assuming that this represents an accurate account of the events, that took place over the course of many years while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in power, it can only be compared to a poker game bluff that went very wrong. Because while Bibi thought he was playing his cards in a strategically clever manner, Hamas was simultaneously planning and preparing their own hand, bypassing the squabble with the Palestinian Authority and executing their own game which they believed would ultimately give them a sure win.

What wasn’t figured into the equation was that turning to Hamas, an avowed terror group, which never had any intention of being a partner in peace, would backfire in such an unthinkable way. Only being politically deluded could have suggested that trying to pit rival terror groups against one another would tie them up in a tangled conflict that would somehow work to Israel’s advantage. It didn’t!

There is a general rule in life that is worth acknowledging. Someone is always prettier, thinner, richer and smarter than you. This means that there is also a person who can out-strategize even the best and brightest thinkers. Apparently, Hamas figured out what was going on early in the game and thought up their own ingenious way of short-circuiting Israeli politicians who were vested in a plan they thought would work.

If that’s true, it would account for intelligence agencies taking their cues from those running the government who were waging bets that keeping the enemy embroiled in their own power struggle would guarantee the safety of Israeli citizens. 

Consequently, even though many warning signs were noticed, including eye-witness accounts of digging, mapping and training near the fence, all of which had been taking place only days before that fated Sabbath morning, they were largely ignored, leaving the kibbutz bordering communities vulnerable to the vicious and savage attack which took place. Those crucial warning signs were disregarded by IDF Surveillance soldiers who were advised by intelligence officials that they were simply unimportant.

Times of Israel reported that “at least three months prior to the attack, surveillance soldiers, serving on a base in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, reported signs that something unusual was underway at the already-tumultuous Gaza border, situated a kilometer from them. According to the accounts of the soldiers, no action was taken by those who received the reports.”

What can possibly explain a decision to ignore repeated training sessions several times a day, holes being dug and explosives being placed along the border? It couldn’t have been because they didn’t recognize or understand what was happening right before their eyes. It was because they had likely been told to ignore what their eyes were seeing (something which is being done quite a bit these days) and to trust the higher-ups “who have the situation well in hand.”

But when your gut tells you that something is wrong, it’s never a good idea to turn off that internal protective device, because you do so at your own peril. In this case, too many caved to the pressure of blindly trusting those in charge, despite the gnawing feeling they had.

One of the most circulated stories was the account of female soldiers who warned of what they believed to be an impending attack but whose warnings were met with indifference. It recalls the women, called “spotters,” who would do nothing but stare at surveillance screens for hours on end, looking for anything suspicious. Days before the attack, these women reported what they saw – “Hamas preparations near the border fence, its drone activity in recent months, its efforts to knock out cameras, the extensive use of vans and motorcycles and even rehearsals for the shelling of tanks.” It was a no-brainer because everything was being done openly, so no one had any doubt as to what was taking place. Yet, the reports of these spotters went unheeded.

Some say that had the spotters been men, the reports might have carried more weight, but if the events of October 7 were really the results of a political delusion whose narrative was based upon hoping that a faulty strategy would work, then gender has nothing to do with it, because, in the end, wishful thinking over hard evidence is what prevailed, much to our detriment.

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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