Lisa Liel

Who is to blame for October 7?

It’s a fairly stupid question, right? Obviously, it’s the fault of the Palestinians. I won’t say Hamas, because Fatah troops also participated, and so did thousands of Palestinian “civilians”.

But culpability isn’t a pie chart. You can’t split it up into pieces and have it add up to 100%. The Palestinians are 100% to blame for it. That doesn’t mean no one else is.

To put it in a way that will assuage the mathematicians reading this, the Palestinians are 100% to blame for what they did. There is no mitigation of that. But the question that remains is, “Who is to blame for Israel’s failure to prevent it?” And that’s what I really want to talk about, because the culpability of the Palestinians is beyond rational debate.

Who is to blame for Israel’s failure to prevent October 7?

Better? Good. So, a lot of people, looking at things in the most shallow terms, will say it was the fault of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. And that’s true, in a sense. As the man at the top, he gets the blame. Just like, and I’ll be coming back to this, Golda Meir was responsible for Israel being taken by surprise in the Yom Kippur War.

(A lot of people blaming Netanyahu are doing so, not because they actually think it was his fault, but because they suffer from a mutant form of TDS called Netanyahu Derangement Syndrome. They hate him, and will do anything to get him out of office. I’m not talking about them, because they are about as rational as the Palestinians. Monomaniacs who can’t be reasoned with.)

But let’s consider one of the ways in which Israel differs from the United States. In the United States, the Constitution says that the President is “Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces”. That means that despite not being part of the military brass, the President of the United States outranks them all, and they all have to answer to him. Such is not the case in Israel, where the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is the Ramatkal, or the Army Chief of Staff.

Conceptzia the First

As anyone who has studied the Yom Kippur War knows, Israel’s failure was the fault of a misconception. A Conception (with a capital C, called “the Conceptzia” in Hebrew) which blinded Israel’s leadership from seeing the approaching threat, despite the many, many warnings that were obvious in retrospect, and should have been obvious beforehand.

“In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a concept (or “conceptzia”, as the Israelis called it) took hold that the Arabs were unwilling to go to war against Israel. The concept was based on the idea that the 1967 War was such an overwhelming victory that the Arabs would not be able to overcome Israel for the time being. Thus even when it appeared clear that the Arabs had aggressive intentions, Israeli analysts refused to believe that the Arabs would actually follow through with them.”

—Doron Geller, “Israel Military Intelligence: Intelligence During Yom Kippur War (1973)”

The head of Aman, Israel’s military intelligence, Eli Zeira, was rock solid in his refusal to believe the Arabs would attack. When the head of the Mossad, Tzvi Zamir, tried to talk to Golda Meir about the issue, she told him to go and talk to Moshe Dayan, who was also stuck in Zeira’s Conceptzia. Worse, even after the war started on October 6, 1973, Zeira continued to insist that the Arabs wouldn’t settle in for a war of attrition before the end of 1975. The failure of his misconception didn’t result in him sitting up, saying, “Holy hell, I was wrong!” On the contrary. He doubled down on his mistake.

Conceptzia the Second

Exactly 50 years and one day after the Arab sneak attack, the Palestinians perpetrated another sneak attack. Once again, Israel was taken by surprise. Once again, it was because of a Conceptzia. This time, it was the belief, the devout belief, the absolute and categorical certainty, that the Palestinians had been “deterred”. Not only that the previous rounds of fighting in the Gaza Strip in 2008 and 2014 and 2018 had led the Palestinians to concede that it wasn’t worthwhile to continue trying to murder us, but that we had made it financially worth their while, by allowing vast numbers of Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip into the rest of Israel, where they could earn far more money than they could in Gaza.

So what was the conceptzia of 2023? Its shattered governing assumption was that under the heavy burden of governing the Gaza Strip, Hamas would feel the need to prove itself through economic performance. Specifically, economic inducements towards Hamas would moderate its foundational belief that Israel is an illegitimate entity whose very existence must be extinguished and its citizens killed. This Israeli conceptzia was driven by many factors, but at its core, it was based on the idea that Hamas was undergoing an organizational evolution in which it would now value even modest increases in living standards in Gaza. Economic advancement would bring calm, as it gave Hamas something to lose. According to this view, Hamas was willing to sacrifice at least some of its ideology on the altar of accommodating itself to the reality of governance.

—David Makovsky, “The Collapse of Israel’s Hamas “Conceptzia

Those who thought it was a security risk to have so many Palestinians coming into Israel on a daily basis were scoffed at. But it turned out that many of those Palestinians actually turned out to have been “casing the joint”. Recording locations of security personnel and weakness in our defenses that were used to plan the Oct 7 attack.

And just like in the days of the Yom Kippur War, those blinded by their Conceptzia have refused to learn from their mistake. They continue to demand that the government allow in more and more Palestinian day laborers, and for the same reason: The misconception that this will help to pacify them. Deter them from further violence. The actual, factual, on-the-record proof that this is untrue has fallen on deaf ears.

As in 1973, the blame can be placed flatly on the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Aharon Haliva. But this time, it’s even worse.

Rafael Hayun, a civilian hacker who monitors open intelligence networks, worked for the IDF for years.

In late 2019, Hayun began reporting on Hamas training exercises involving invading Israel, penetrating the security fence at multiple points, taking over communities, committing mass murder and kidnapping.

Five months before the assault, his colleagues in the IDF were ordered to seize all of his equipment and stop working with him. Around the same time, the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate Unit 8200 signals intelligence unit also stopped monitoring Hamas’s communications.

—Caroline Glick, “Aharon Haliva has got to go. Now.

The list of deliberate malfeasance on the part of Haliva and his subordinates is nothing sort of shocking. It would be libelous and prosecutable to suggest what the evidence seems to suggest, so I’ll refrain, for my own protection. I do recommend that you read Caroline Glick’s article, cited above, in full.


So who is to blame for Israel’s failure to prevent October 7? On a national level, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to blame to the same extent the Prime Minister Golda Meir was to blame for Israel’s failure to prevent the Yom Kippur War. No more, and no less.

But on a practical level? Chief of the Intelligence Directorate Aharon Haliva is to blame for the catastrophic failure at least to the same extent that Chief of the Intelligence Directorate Eli Zeira was responsible for the catastrophic intelligence failure in 1973, if not more so.

Zeira was found culpable by the Agranat Commission set up after the Yom Kippur War, and resigned. We cannot afford to continue having Haliva damaging Israel’s security while the current war continues. He should be forced to resign now, or be removed against his will.

About the Author
Lisa Liel lives in Karmiel with her family. She works as a programmer/developer, reads a lot, watches too much TV, does research in Bronze/Iron Age archaeology of the Middle East, and argues a lot on Facebook.
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