Friday, May 24, 2024

Netanyahu apologizes for blaming Israeli security chiefs for Hamas attack

(Al Jazeera Media Network) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized for a post in which he cast blame on the country’s security services for failing to anticipate Hamas’s October 7 attack, saying he was “wrong” to make such comments at a time when unity is paramount.

In a social media post late on Saturday, Netanyahu took a dig at his own intelligence services, saying they had failed to warn him of a looming Hamas assault and instead assured him the group was “deterred”.

“At no time and no stage was a warning given to Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding war intentions of Hamas,” Netanyahu wrote in the now-deleted post on X. “On the contrary, all security officials, including the head of army intelligence and the head of the Shin Bet, estimated that Hamas was deterred and interested in an arrangement.”

The remarks quickly drew strong rebukes from fellow Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu’s allies, who said it was the time for unity rather than finger-pointing.

“When we are at war, leadership must show responsibility, decide to do the right things, and strengthen the forces,” said Benny Gantz, a former defence minister who joined Netanyahu’s war cabinet after the attack.

“Any other action or statement harms the people’s ability to stand and their strength. The prime minister must retract his statement.”

Yair Lapid, an opposition leader and former prime minister, accused Netanyahu of crossing “a red line” and undermining the army.

Netanyahu quickly deleted the contentious post and apologized for undercutting his security services in a follow-up statement, guaranteeing that they have his “full backing”.


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