Hamas attack deals devastating blow to Israel, underlines Haaretz
In a fresh analysis, Amos Harel of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz argues that Hamas has delivered a devastating shock to Israel's defense establishment. He says the surprise attack from Gaza on Saturday represents an intelligence failure on a massive scale.
According to Harel, Hamas spent months planning the intricately coordinated attack which allowed militants to infiltrate several Israeli communities near the Gaza border. They met little resistance from Israeli forces who were not in a state of high alert.
With military outposts temporarily silenced, Hamas fighters poured into the Israeli settlements which had been left vulnerable due to limited troop deployments. The result is dozens dead and hundreds wounded on the Israeli side.
Harel argues the attack exposes major flaws in Israel's defense doctrine regarding Gaza. There was no early warning of the impending assault even though Hamas had been rehearsing similar battle plans for years. Israel's vaunted underground barrier aimed at blocking tunnels from Gaza proved useless as militants simply went overground to breach the walls.
The author says Hamas has already achieved a major propaganda victory and will continue to reap benefits on social media. However, he warns the organization will also face massive retaliation from Israel which is likely to respond with tremendous force and civilian casualties in Gaza.
According to Harel, the conflict threatens to engulf the entire region. Israel must now consider fighting on multiple fronts including Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and even within its own borders. The situation has been complicated by Israel's recent political turmoil and extremist government policies.
Harel argues that a massive investigation will be required to uncover how Israel's political and security leadership failed so catastrophically. However, those questions will have to wait until the guns fall silent. For now, Israel must quickly get its house in order amid the chaos if it hopes to contain the damage from Hamas' stunning victory.