Israel’s Top Court Suspends October 7 Probe

By Will Porter

Military officials have faced intense scrutiny over their failure to prevent the surprise Hamas attack last year.

The Israeli High Court of Justice has ordered the government to halt its investigation into intelligence failings in the lead-up to Hamas’ October 7 attack. The move comes after the court received classified briefings from security agencies, some of which have publicly opposed the probe.

In an interim ruling on Sunday, Justice Gila Canfy-Steinitz paused the investigation until the court can hear arguments from its opponents next month.

“In view of the complex security reality, the planned scope of the investigation, which will deal, among other things, with the combat support system and core operational issues, and the preparation required to respond to [the investigation] at the current time…I order the suspension of the investigation procedures in everything that relates to the IDF and [Shin Bet],” she wrote in her ruling, as quoted in Israeli media.

Launched in December by State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, the probe sought to audit major security and intelligence failures ahead of Hamas’ deadly attack last year, which was not stopped despite a number of warnings. However, the investigation has faced opposition from a long line of top officials, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The PM’s cabinet secretary, Yossi Fuchs, attempted to stop the probe during an earlier meeting with Englman, while Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi similarly urged the comptroller to hold off until the war in Gaza came to an end. The army chief reportedly told Englman that any external investigation would “distract commanders and harm the ability and quality of the IDF’s ongoing operational probe,” as well as “prevent implementing the lessons necessary to achieve war goals.”

In response, Englman told Halevi that the “severe failures that led to the events of Oct. 7 require a deep and fundamental examination,” and stressed that his team had been instructed to carry out the probe in a way that did not “divert [commanders’] attention from the war.”

Several former defense officials have also opposed the intelligence audit, some of whom joined activist group Movement for Quality Government (MQG) to petition the courts in February. The State Attorney’s Office has publicly supported that effort, also arguing the probe would damage Israel’s war effort. Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara likewise submitted a legal opinion to the High Court last month to make the same case. The MQG petition is what ultimately prompted Sunday’s ruling.

In addition to the October 7 intelligence failures, the IDF and other security agencies have also faced pressure to investigate friendly-fire incidents during the Hamas attack – including the shelling of a home full of Israeli hostages in a kibbutz near the Gaza border. The military said it opened a probe into the matter last winter, and later cleared the commanders involved of any wrongdoing.


Will Porter is assistant news editor at the Libertarian Institute and a regular contributor at Find more of his work at Consortium News and ZeroHedge.

Image: Pixabay

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