Tel Aviv: In a late-night tweet on Saturday night, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated previous claims that he was not warned by security chiefs about an impending Hamas attack, and claimed that all security chiefs had consistently assured him that Hamas was deterred, drawing sharp criticism over his apparent attempt to blame them and evade responsibility for the disaster, a media report said.
He deleted the post some nine hours later, and issued a rare apology shortly afterward, Times of Israel reported.
“Contrary to the false claims: Under no circumstances and at no stage was Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of Hamas’ war intentions,” read the original tweet, hours after Netanyahu held a joint press conference with Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister (without portfolio) Benny Gantz.
The tweet elaborated: “On the contrary, all the security officials, including the head of military intelligence and the head of the Shin Bet, assessed that Hamas had been deterred and was looking for a settlement. This assessment was submitted again and again to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet by all the security forces and intelligence community, up until the outbreak of the war,” Times of Israel reported.
At the press conference, Netanyahu had been asked about a written warning about the growing likelihood of war ostensibly issued in recent months by the head of the Shin Bet and the head of IDF military intelligence, and said the question was “inaccurate”.
About an hour after he deleted the post, Netanyahu issued a rare apology for the statement, writing on X late Sunday morning: “I was wrong. The things I said following the press conference should not have been said and I apologise for that,” Times of Israel reported.
Netanyahu’s statement, seeming to place blame on security officials for the failures leading to the October 7 massacre rather than accept any responsibility himself, drew sharp criticism, including from within his emergency government, the report said.