TEL AVIV (Agencies): Ever since Hamas triggered an escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine by breaching the Israeli border and abducting approximately 200 people on 7 October, the surprise attack has been blamed on everything from intelligence lapses to operational and logistical weaknesses of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Israel’s female surveillance soldiers at the border had warned of heightened Hamas activity before the 7 October attack, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
However, their alert was allegedly ignored by the upper chain of command. In what has been described as a blatant display of sexism, senior commanders refused to heed the warnings because they had come from women operating the surveillance cameras, sources were cited as saying.
The unit operates along Israel’s borders, as well as throughout the West Bank. Also dubbed ‘the eyes of the State of Israel’, these soldiers gather information using cameras, sensors and maps, and are responsible for monitoring around 15-30 kilometers of land.
As a result, they provide real-time intelligence information to their military colleagues out in the field all day, every day. Hamas had been training for an attack for weeks, the tatzpitaniyot had purportedly warned. The aforementioned female surveillance soldiers reported “signs of activity” along the Gaza border.
Accordingly, a plethora of warnings based upon their surveillance had been sent up the chain of command by the unit, only to be ignored, according to the report.
When the October attack by Hamas began, the militant group resorted to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to hit Israeli positions, just as the tatzpitaniyot had observed in their surveillance.
According to another female soldier, the unit had seen a replica of a Merkava 4 tank being built and then used for training in Gaza. One of the surveillance soldiers was described as having apologized for waking
up a superior early on 7 October to report having observed “something strange”.
However, none of the reports of a potential infiltration of Israel’s border communities put together by the female surveillance soldiers and sent to senior security officials had purportedly been taken notice of. “If we had known about this warning, this whole disaster would have looked different… No one told us that there was such a high level of vigilance,” one soldier was cited as saying, adding: There had previously also been reports that accounts and opinions of surveillance soldiers failed to be taken seriously, with female staff ostensibly treated with contempt.