Israeli media reports in the immediate aftermath of the Hamas attack that aimed to provide insight into what exactly happened internally in the armed forces, as well as in Israel’s services in the first hours of the attack, reinforce suspicions that the Netanyahu government and the security forces were unprepared and made mistakes in managing the incident.
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The publication of the Yedioth Ahronoth website, showing the video with the Apache bombings in the Negev desert during the Hamas attack on the Nova festival, combined with the reports that in the first hours the picture of the targets the pilots had was not clear, create serious questions. These are reinforced by other pilots’ testimonies that have seen the light of day.
In her publication Israeli website Mako, testimonies of Israeli pilots who were called to the battlefield in Southern Israel on the day of the Hamas attack come to light. Their words put a deep crack in Israel’s narrative and leave open the possibility that the Israeli army hit Israeli civilians (either potential hostages or simply bystanders in the disputed areas) as collateral casualties in the October 7 attack.
Admission of incomplete information
Pilots who spoke to Israel’s Meso highlighted the difficulty they had in distinguishing “terrorists from civilians” when they reached the Gaza border area from which Hamas militants had invaded. Pilots admit to a lack of information about what’s happening on the ground:
“At around 10.30 in the morning there are already eight combat helicopters in the air, but the number of targets is much higher – and there is almost no information to help make fatal decisions,” they note in their interview. Elsewhere they admit that “for the first time in my life, I get a phone call in the cockpit,” from a special forces soldier, who pinpointed the locations of the helicopter strikes. The journalist emphasizes the fact that Israeli helicopters being dropped on Israeli territory with information from the WhatsApp web application sounds like a “fantasy”. The pilot agrees with the reporter…
“I’m not 100% sure”
The pilots report that when they were in the air, they were already aware that there were kidnapped Israeli citizens. Asked by the reporter about “if you shoot someone heading to Gaza,” the pilot replied that it’s “a super-complicated dilemma.” The pilot states that at that moment he decides whether the people he sees are fighters or abductees. “I choose targets where I tell myself the probability of hitting hijackers is low,” notes the pilot. But he adds that “I can’t be 100% sure”…
“I will open the album after the war”
One of the pilots reported that: “I have made the decision to suppress everything now and open the album of decisions after the war.” He emphasized that now he must “be completely in the mission, there is no other choice.” Otherwise he won’t be able to be “astute”…
How long will Netanyahu last?
The above on the one hand at a central level are used as evidence that confirms that there were dangerous errors in the way of managing the emergency situation created for the Israeli leadership by the attack by Hamas, while at the same time leaving open the possibility that there was in fact “friendly fire” against Israelis civilians, who had been “tangled” in the eyes of the pilots with Hamas gunmen. The insistence of Netanyahu and his far-right government that responsibility for the failure of the state security and defense apparatus will be assigned after the war is won is more reminiscent of a cover-up tactic. The question that is now being asked openly in Israel, but also elsewhere, that is, whether Netanyahu will take part of the responsibility for the fiasco, if it turns out that friendly fire really took place, is not expected to trouble those he employs for much longer.