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Publish dateSaturday 11 May 2024 - 12:09
Story Code : 290185
Netanyahu Admits Failures on October 7 But Ducks Personal Responsibility
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted his government failed to defend Israel on October 7, but again stopped short of assuming personal responsibility for the worst loss of life in Israel’s history.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) - Monitoring: Security and military chiefs have publicly acknowledged responsibility for failures in the devastating Hamas assault that triggered the Gaza war, with most expected to resign at the war’s conclusion, The Financial Times reported.
Yet Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, has dodged accountability and said any inquiry would have to wait until after the fighting ended.
Asked if he held himself to account, the prime minister replied, “I hold myself and everyone on this. I think we have to examine how it happened. What was the intelligence failure? What was the military failure?”
He added, “We can get into this discussion and we will, but right now we have to win.”
One thousand two hundred Israelis were killed and 250 people taken hostage during Hamas’s raid into Southern Israel, according to Israeli authorities. About 130 people, including foreign nationals, remain in captivity. More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed during Israel’s ferocious retaliatory offensive into Gaza, according to health authorities in the Hamas-controlled enclave.
Netanyahu’s hour-long interview with Dr Phil was met with derision by many Israeli commentators, who highlighted the fact that the premier had not granted an interview to the Hebrew-language media in more than a year, since April 2023 and only then to a sympathetic rightwing outlet. Weekly press conferences, a constant in the early months of the war, have also stopped.
The interview came amid a crisis in relations with the US administration of President Joe Biden, who earlier this week confirmed that an arms shipment to Israel was delayed due to sharp differences over a planned offensive into the Gazan city of Rafah.
The Israeli military on Tuesday seized Rafah’s Eastern outskirts, including a key border crossing with Egypt. Washington has expressed concern over the potential toll on the estimated 1mln displaced Palestinians sheltering in the area and the impact on talks over a ceasefire and hostage deal.
Israeli officials maintain that Rafah is home to the last four intact Hamas battalions and is essential to achieving the “total victory” Netanyahu has promised.
Netanyahu in his interview said that over the course of his four-decade relationship with Biden “we often had our agreements but we’ve had our disagreements”, adding that he hoped they could be overcome. But he did not appear to relent on the Rafah operation.
“We will do what we have to do to protect our country. That means we will defeat Hamas, including in Rafah. We have no choice,” Netanyahu said, a day after vowing that if Israel had to “stand alone” and “fight with our fingernails” it would.
A person familiar with Israeli deliberations said that, despite the tough talk, there was a sense of “shell shock” at the top of the Israeli government over the “perfect storm” with Washington, with efforts ongoing to mend ties behind the scenes.
“Rafah will continue in some form that’s a certainty, and the talks for a ceasefire and release of hostages are paused but the Israelis are also waiting to see where things stand” with the US, the person said./Fars
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