Netanyahu rejects IDF claim of warnings during 2023 civil unrest, insists intel agencies said Hamas was deterred

File - This handout photo shows anti-overhaul protesters demonstrating near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's home in Caesarea, June 12, 2023. (Brothers in Arms)
File - This handout photo shows anti-overhaul protesters demonstrating near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's home in Caesarea, June 12, 2023. (Brothers in Arms)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds to a letter from the Israel Defense Forces that said he had received multiple communiques from Military Intelligence in spring and summer 2023 warning about how the country’s enemies were viewing the social upheaval in Israel at the time.

“Not only is there no warning in any of the documents about Hamas’s intentions to attack Israel from Gaza, but they instead give a completely opposite assessment,” Netanyahu’s office says in a statement.

Some have said the government’s attempts to overhaul the judiciary and the rise of a massive opposition movement had projected Israeli weakness, leading Hamas to launch its brutal onslaught on October 7.

The prime minister adds that the only two references to the Palestinian terror group in the four documents in question “indicate that Hamas did not want to attack Israel from Gaza.”

The Prime Minister’s Office statement argues that the intelligence assessment that Hamas was not interested in an escalation and rather was headed toward an agreement with Israel was “consistently shared by all of the security agencies, who even claimed that Hamas was deterred.”

The PMO statement adds that Netanyahu himself had warned about the impact of the internal unrest on Israel’s enemies multiple times, when Air Force reservists and other military personnel froze their service in protest of the government’s judicial overhaul moves during the widespread protests in 2023.

Netanyahu has consistently refused to take responsibility for Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught, which his government failed to foresee or prevent, though he hinted at “failures” during a recent interview with Dr. Phil.

Top defense officials have come out in the aftermath of Hamas’s massacre of some 1,200 people and abduction of 252 and have said they bear responsibility for what unfolded. Israel’s Military Intelligence chief became the most senior official to resign last month in a move likely to be followed by other security officials at some point.

Netanyahu has insisted on waiting for a state commission of inquiry to make determinations regarding the culpability of the government — which he insists cannot take place while the war in Gaza is ongoing.

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