Middle East

Israeli secret service’s warnings were ignored before Oct. 7 attack: Opposition leader

Yair Lapid says he received information from Israeli secret service 2 weeks before Hamas attack that an outbreak of violence was imminent

Ayhan Şimşek  | 19.12.2023 - Update : 19.12.2023
Israeli secret service’s warnings were ignored before Oct. 7 attack: Opposition leader


Israel’s opposition leader has accused the Netanyahu government of ignoring warnings made by the secret service before the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

"There were many failures on the part of our state before the Hamas attack. We must investigate exactly how this could have happened,” former prime minister and centrist party leader Yair Lapid said on Tuesday.

“Two weeks before the Hamas attack, I received information from the Israeli secret service that an outbreak of violence was imminent in Gaza and the West Bank. I warned about this in a press conference – unfortunately, nobody wanted to hear it at the time,” he said.

Lapid, who is paying a visit to Germany, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the country’s best-selling newspaper Bild.

The experienced politician repeated his criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right political partners and underlined that the country needed a political change.

"Yes, it's true, I demanded in the Israeli media: Netanyahu should have resigned and initiated an orderly change of government. Actually, the day after the Hamas attack. The catastrophe happened during his term in office and was his mistake,” he said.

Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, blamed Hamas for the war, accused the group of using Palestinian civilians as human shields, and argued that the Israeli military operation should continue until Hamas is destroyed.

"The decision to launch a ground offensive was the right one. We have to defend ourselves. Germany would certainly do the same if terrorists were to carry out a massacre in Munich, for example,” he said.

The Israeli politician also backed suggestions that the country’s security agencies should carry out targeted operations aimed at killing Hamas leaders around the globe.

He did not rule out negotiations with Hamas, but declined to give any details about Israel’s possible conditions or demands.

"We have to make the terrorists an offer at some point. But I don't want to discuss publicly what that might be,” he said.

When asked about the post-war scenarios, Lapid said they do not intend to occupy Gaza after the war, and there could be various options that he said must ensure the security of Israel.

"I think the Palestinians should administer Gaza themselves, in cooperation with the US or an international organization,” he said.

“But Israel must be able to intervene militarily in Gaza at any time in the future. Just like in the West Bank today. We must guarantee our security and prevent a resurgence of Hamas,” he added.

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