Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday declared that his country was “at a war,” a day after Hamas fighters breached the border from Gaza in an unprecedented surprise attack.
Uriel Abulof is a visiting professor in Cornell University’s government department and a professor of politics at Tel-Aviv University. Abulof says the sense of collective shock in Israel is larger than the Yom Kippur War.
“Due to a fateful intelligence error, [in 1973] the Egyptian and Syrian armies inflicted heavy losses on the IDF forces. Israel itself was not invaded. This weekend, Israelis witnessed their southern townships overridden, not by state armies, but by a small militia and a mob, who crossed the supposedly advanced barrier.
“Since the mid-1990s, Netanyahu first bolstered Hamas to undermine the more moderate Fatah/PLO so as to advance his ‘no Palestinian partner for peace’ thesis. Second, over the past ten months, focusing on undermining Israel’s democracy and diverting resources, including military, to his ultra-religious nationalist supporters, ignoring all warnings on its ill-effects, not least on the IDF. Right now, IDF soldiers seem to rely much more on Israel’s robust civil society for logistical, financial, and moral support, than on its own government.
“The horrendous images on social media will have a lasting effect, fueling the vicious cycle of humiliation and revenge which has underpinned the conflict for generations. The danger of further escalation, and expansion of the clash, is immense, with possibly vast global implications.”