Esper predicts Israel ‘intelligence failure’ will have ripple effect
Mark Esper, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, called the Palestinian surprise attack on Israel an intelligence failure and suggested it will have a lasting ripple effect.
“I was a surprise, it caught the Israelis completely off guard and you can’t say anything but it was an intelligence failure,” Esper said during a Saturday interview with Fox News.
“I think, look, we’re dealing with a tactical situation on the ground, which is terrible and tragic for both Israeli citizens and the Israeli military,” he added “But this is going to ripple in multiple ways, being such a failure.”
Esper questioned if the Israeli people would rally behind Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or if it would cause a collapse of his government.
“That’s going to be one effect of this that hasn’t been discussed so far,” Esper said.
Netanyahu declared war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Saturday after they launched a barrage of rocket strikes and entered the country in a surprise attack Saturday. Hamas captured multiple Israeli soldiers and civilians in the attack, the Associated Press confirmed.
At least 300 Israelis and 232 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting so far, according to Israeli media reports and the Palestinian government.
President Joe Biden spoke with Netanyahu Saturday and said the United States will “stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel.”
The Palestinian government stood by its decision to attack, saying it was a result of Israel’s discrimination against Palestinians in the country.