Israel's High Court suspends probe into military, intelligence failings on 7 October

Israel's High Court suspends probe into military, intelligence failings on 7 October
Israel's top court has suspended an investigation into military and intelligence officials failings into Hamas's surprise attack on 7 October.
2 min read
17 June, 2024
Israel's High Court made the controversial decision to suspend the investigation amid mutual accusations between the government and military [Getty]

Israel’s High Court issued an injunction on Sunday to suspend an investigation by State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman into the military and Shin Bet over alleged failings that led to Hamas’s surprise attack on 7 October.

Justice Gila Canfy Steinitz put the court's ruling down to "the complex security situation", referring to Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza which has now killed 37,337 Palestinians and rendered much of the enclave uninhabitable.

The judge said the planned investigation could have detrimental effects on Israel’s war efforts, as it would examine "the [army’s] combat service support systems including core operational issues, and the preparations needed to address them at the current hour", Haaretz reported.

The comptroller’s investigation will be suspended until at least July, when the court will hear petitions against the inquiry.

Sunday's injunction was issued in response to a petition from the Movement for Quality Government and former senior Israeli defence officials. The plaintiffs argued that "probing the army at this time will harm the war efforts, national security and public trust".

Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has opposed this investigation since it was first announced in December, claiming it could "harm the war effort".

Engelman insists there is "an urgent need to conduct it at this stage at all levels: civil, political and military", according to Maariv.

The investigation has caused deep controversy in Israe due to fears Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to shift blame for his government's failings regarding 7 October onto the military and intelligence services.

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Englman was appointed directly by Netanyahu, rather than the conventional method of selection via an independent body.

Many leading officers in the Israeli army feel that Netanyahu has deliberately sabotaged the military’s internal probes and is trying to exert power over Halevi by "activating" Englman, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli government and military have both come under criticism at home for their handling of 7 October with events of that day - which left around 1,190 Israelis killed - still not fully accounted for.

The Israeli army has claimed that Netantahu received four different warning messages from the Military Intelligence Directorate between March and July 2023 about the attack, something the prime minister denies.