World Highlights

Why Hamas Attacked—and Why Israel Was Taken by Surprise

Publicado por Site da Segurança

A Conversation With Martin Indyk

On the morning of Saturday, October 7, the Palestinian group Hamas carried out a surprise attack on Israel on an unprecedented scale: firing thousands of rockets, infiltrating militants into Israeli territory, and taking an unknown number of hostages. At least 100 Israelis have died, and at least 1,400 have been wounded; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country was “at war.” As Israeli forces responded, around 200 Palestinians were killed and around 1,600 wounded.

For insight into what this means for Israel, the Palestinians, and the region, Foreign Affairs turned to Martin Indyk, the Lowy Distinguished Fellow in U.S.-Middle East Diplomacy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Indyk has twice served as U.S. ambassador to Israel, first from 1995 to 1997 and again from 2000 to 2001. He also served as U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from 2013 to 2014. Earlier, he served as special assistant to President Bill Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council, and as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in the U.S. Department of State. Indyk spoke with Executive Editor Justin Vogt on Saturday afternoon. The conversation below has been edited for length and clarity.

A number of observers have remarked that today’s events have had an impact on Israelis similar to the effect the 9/11 attacks had on Americans. But Israelis have endured a great deal of violence in recent decades—as, of course, have Palestinians. What sets this apart?

This was a total system failure on Israel’s part. The Israelis are accustomed to being able to know exactly what the Palestinians are doing, in detail, from their sophisticated means of spying. They built a very expensive wall between Gaza and the communities on the Israeli side of the border. They had been confident that Hamas was deterred from launching a major attack: they wouldn’t dare, because they would get crushed, because the Palestinians would turn against Hamas for causing another war. And the Israelis believed that Hamas was in a different mode now: focused on a long-term cease-fire in which each side benefited from a live-and-let-live arrangement. Some 19,000 Palestinian workers were going into Israel every day from Gaza, and that was benefiting the economy and was generating tax revenues.

But it turns out that was all a massive deception. And so people are in shock—and, like on 9/11, there is this sense of, “How is it possible that a ragtag band of terrorists could pull this off? How is it possible they could beat the mighty Israeli intelligence community and the mighty Israeli Defense Forces?” And we don’t have good answers yet, but I’m sure part of the reason was hubris—an Israeli belief that sheer force could deter Hamas, and that Israel did not have to address the long-term problems.

Rear more at:


October 7, 2023

Sobre o autor

Site da Segurança

Informação para sua proteção!


Esse site utiliza o Akismet para reduzir spam. Aprenda como seus dados de comentários são processados.