Hamas attack on Israel appears to be months in the making, says former Indian diplomat

As the brutal conflict between Israel and Hamas enters its third day, the death toll has risen to at least 1,100 people, with thousands more wounded. The conflict began when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza border on Saturday (October 7).

Navtej Sarna, the former Indian Envoy to Israel, in an interview with CNBC-TV18, stated that this attack appears to have been meticulously planned months in advance, drawing a significant parallel with the Yom Kippur war from nearly 50 years ago when Israeli forces were similarly caught off guard by an unexpected assault.
“From the way that it has panned out, this is obviously not a typical random firing of Hamas rockets from Gaza that has taken place from time to time. I wouldn’t agree with the description of the border there as porous, it is a very heavily guarded and normally fortified fence. So to break through, not at one place, but 20 odd places, and send in hundreds of people besides firing thousands of rockets is not something that can be just done at the drop of a hat. It requires deep preparation. And that has obviously happened. Therefore, this has been in the planning for a while. The biggest parallel that’s being drawn is that it’s almost 50 years to the Yom Kippur War, in which at the time were also Egyptian and Syrian armies had surprised the Israeli defense forces on the holiday of Yom Kippur. But, that’s one way of looking at it,” Sarna said.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, reported that at least 700 Israelis have lost their lives, and dozens have been taken hostage. Meanwhile, in Gaza, over 400 people have perished as Israeli jets relentlessly bombard the region. In a show of solidarity, the United States has dispatched a warship to the vicinity of Israel.

Sarna emphasised that this conflict has exposed vulnerabilities within Israel and prompted extensive questioning from the Israeli media. He noted that not only has Israel’s reputation been tarnished, but also over 1000 Israeli citizens have tragically lost their lives.

Shalom Lipner, a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, underscored that this crisis is likely to reshape regional priorities in the short term.

“Certainly in the immediate term, we’ll be witnessing the reordering of regional priorities. I think the reason that the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) agreements were concluded in the first place, is because there’s a clear trajectory towards that kind of progress. Those projects are mutually beneficial to all the partners. When member states, signed on to those kinds of deals, they understood that these sorts of negative repercussions that we’re seeing now were always possible within the mix. So they’ll show the sustainability to get through this period one way or another,” Lipner said.

Israeli Diplomat and Consul General (Midwest India), Kobbi Shoshani, stated that Israel is currently focused on restoring peace within its borders and delivering a stern message to these ruthless terrorists.

In response to the distressing events in Israel, leaders from across the globe swiftly condemned the attacks and expressed their solidarity with the nation. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his deep shock at the “terrorist attacks” on Israel and assured unwavering support, stating, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.” The US White House also issued a resolute condemnation of the attack carried out by “Hamas terrorists” on Israel, expressing unequivocal disapproval and stating, “The United States unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians.”

Shoshani further acknowledged that Israel, for the moment, does not require specific assistance but expressed gratitude to all the nations that have shown their support in recent days.

Watch the accompanying video for the entire discussion.

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