At 1:09 AM Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to set things straight, following a press conference in which he was challenged by reporters, among other things, on his caving in to the media and public opinion with the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal, releasing 1,027 Hamas terrorists (including current Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar); and his policy of boosting Hamas in Gaza to offset the PLO in Ramallah.
And so, several hours after that unhappy press conference, Netanyahu threw under the bus Military Intelligence Chief General Aharon Haliva and Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar. He tweeted:
“Contrary to the false claims: under no circumstances and at no stage was Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of war intentions on the part of Hamas. On the contrary, all the security officials, including the head of Military Intelligence and the head of the Shin Bet, estimated that Hamas was deterred and looking for a settlement (with Israel). This was the assessment that was submitted time and time again to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet by all the security forces and the intelligence community, including up until the outbreak of the war.”
בניגוד לטענות השקריות:
בשום מצב ובשום שלב לא ניתנה התרעה לראש הממשלה נתניהו על כוונות מלחמה מצד החמאס. להיפך, כל גורמי הביטחון, כולל ראש אמ״ן וראש שב״כ, העריכו שהחמאס מורתע ופניו להסדרה. זאת ההערכה שהוגשה פעם אחר פעם לראש הממשלה ולקבינט על ידי כל גורמי הביטחון וקהילת המודיעין,…
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) October 28, 2023
On Sunday morning, Gantz tweeted: “This morning in particular, I would like to support and strengthen all the security forces and IDF soldiers – including the Chief of Staff, the head of Military Intelligence and the head of the Shin Bet.”
Gantz added: “The Prime Minister must retract his statement from last night, and stop dealing with the issue.”
Oh, and as you can see above, Netanyahu deleted his tweet. But, as we’ll discuss in a few paragraphs, the Internet has this nasty habit of forgetting nothing.
At the press conference, Netanyahu was asked about his responsibility for the catastrophic security failure of October 7, and said: “After the war, we will all have to provide answers to difficult questions, there was a terrible omission here and it will be thoroughly investigated.”
When asked if he regretted the Gilad Shalit prisoners exchange, the Prime Minister said that “there were difficult issues in the Shalit deal, no one ignores that. The day will come to discuss that as well.”
It should be pointed out that the coalition of left-wing groups and media that attacked Netanyahu relentlessly in 2011 to approve that insane deal – while the right was adamantly against it – is almost identical to the left-media coalition that later ignited the Balfour protests demanding Netanyahu’s resignation starting in 2019, the Kaplan protests that spread to the whole country in response to the judicial reform, and the movement demanding today the release of some 6,000 Hamas security prisoners in exchange for the estimated 230 Israeli hostages in Hamas’ hands.
As to the claim that it was his strategy to boost Hamas to play it against the PLO, Netanyahu said at the press conference: “I didn’t want to strengthen Hamas. I ran three wars against it. I weakened Hamas’ capabilities. In retrospect, it wasn’t enough.”
THE INTERNET DOESN’T FORGET
Yes, the Internet doesn’t forget anything, including Netanyahu’s statement at the Likud Knesset faction meeting on May 5, 2023: “How many rockets has Hamas shot into our territory since Guardian of the Walls? To the best of my knowledge, it’s zero, I don’t know, maybe there was one. They didn’t fire into our territory – because they are deterred.”
Netanyahu further boasted at that meeting that Operation Guardian of the Walls hit Hamas with the worst blow in its history – demolished its aerial, naval, and underground capacity. “This thing changed the deterrence equation, and it’s at least working this way for years, two years.” He then boasted that the same had been done to the Islamic Jihad.
“Anyone who dares to come against us will now understand better the meaning of the words, ‘your blood is on your heads,’” the PM concluded.
On September 9, 2019, Netanyahu was asked in a Kan 11 interview if his decision not to topple Hamas was not a mistake. He obfuscated: “Then we are preparing, stop obsessing with harsh criticism (hitla’hamut). When you are in command you must decide how you run the war, and I won’t start it (the war) in one minute, even one second before the conditions are optimal. A terror entity that wants to annihilate us also knows that it’s going to get hit…”
The interviewer interrupted him: “But that’s what you said ten years ago,” But the PM ignored him, and continued: “But is incapable, and it’s probably going to happen (an all-out war against Hamas), and anyway…”
The interviewer interrupted again: “Are you going to topple the Hamas rule? This is a significant headline.”
Netanyahu: “We will probably not have a choice but to start a campaign to stop the attacks from over there.”
Needless to say, no such campaign ever took place.
On November 30, 2020, Netanyahu told his Likud Knesset faction that “Arab countries come to sign peace deals with us because we are a regional power, because we are a global power, and they can see it.”
On June 26, 2023, Netanyahu rebuked Likud MK Danny Danon who demanded a military response in Gaza to a Hamas terror attack in Jenin, in the Palestinian Authority, telling him loose lips sink ships. Danon responded: “The fact is four Jews were murdered in Eli, and there was no response.” Netanyahu then implied that there had been a response but Danon wasn’t privy to the secret discussions, so he was unaware of it.
Interesting point: Saturday night’s press conference also included Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz. When it came to Gallant’s statement, he said the following:
“I have complete trust in the Chief of Staff, in the IDF officers and IDF commanders, in the fighters in all branches of combat, in the head of the Shin Bet and his people, and in the head of the Mossad and his people. Together, the security system will reach an achievement, and I am sure that these people, from the fighters in the field to the chief of staff, will bring us to victory.”
You probably noticed he failed to mention one person on the list of people he trusted.