Late Night Tweeting

In a post-midnight tweet, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his earlier stance that he wasn’t alerted by security heads about a looming Hamas assault, claiming instead that he was assured of Hamas’s deterrence. This sparked a backlash over what seemed like an attempt to shift blame for the calamity. The tweet was removed nine hours later, followed by an unusual apology from Netanyahu.

The original tweet, coming after a late-night press briefing with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz, denied any forewarning about Hamas’s hostile intents. It further stated that security authorities, including the heads of military intelligence and Shin Bet, believed Hamas sought a resolution, a viewpoint repeatedly shared with him and his cabinet till war broke out.

At the press event, when questioned about a supposed warning from the intelligence chiefs regarding Hamas‘s attack plans, Netanyahu dismissed the inquiry as “inaccurate.” About an hour after deleting the tweet, he admitted his mistake, regretting his earlier remarks and extending support to the security forces.

The Blame Game

His attempt to seemingly pin the October 7 tragedy on security officials instead of owning up to it stirred criticism the following morning, even from within his emergency government setup. Notable figures like Benny Gantz urged Netanyahu to withdraw his statement, emphasizing the importance of leadership responsibility during wartime.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen were among those who joined in criticizing Netanyahu’s actions. The latter stressed the indispensable nature of responsibility from the outset of one’s tenure.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir also expressed disapproval, pinpointing the overall flawed approach rather than specific warnings as the root issue. However, he suggested that a thorough examination of these matters should be postponed until post-war.

The tweet incident occurred shortly after Netanyahu’s first press interaction since the war’s onset, where he once again abstained from acknowledging accountability for the deadly onslaught by the Palestinian militant group. Although he acknowledged the catastrophe, he remained non-committal about establishing a state inquiry commission to delve into the shortcomings that facilitated Hamas’s horrific acts.

Moreover, Netanyahu was queried about whether the judicial revamp endeavors of his government had diverted focus from security issues, to which he replied that such legislative attempts to undermine the judiciary were now off the table, hinting at a resolution of disputes amidst the ongoing conflict.