Podcast special: Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel

Mark Leonard welcomes Eran Etzion, Julien Barnes-Dacey, and Hugh Lovatt to discuss Hamas’s offensive against Israel and its effects on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wider Middle East

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On Saturday morning, Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets, but also infiltrating cities, towns, and kibbutzim in the south of the country. It is the first time a hostile power has taken Israeli territory since the Yom Kippur war in 1973. This surprise offensive – which has already killed more than 800 Israelis and left over 400 Palestinians dead in Gaza after initial Israeli military reprisals – marks a significant turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In this special episode, Mark Leonard welcomes Israeli diplomat and strategist, Eran Etzion, who is a former head of policy planning at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former deputy head of the country’s National Security Council. They are joined by Julien Barnes-Dacey, director of ECFR’s Middle East and North Africa programme, and ECFR senior policy fellow Hugh Lovatt to discuss what is behind Israel’s intelligence failure and consider possible future scenarios. How did Hamas militants manage to infiltrate Israeli territory? What does this mean for the future of Abraham accords as well as prospects for Saudi-Israel normalisation? And for Netanyahu, and his hold on power? Finally, is there any role at all that Europeans can play in preventing a regional conflagration?

This podcast was recorded on 9 October 2023.


How Europeans should respond to the Hamas offensive against Israel | Julien Barnes-Dacey, Hugh Lovatt

Cover image:
Smoke rising after over the Israeli city of Ashdod following rocket launches from Gaza, 07 October 2023
Image by picture alliance / EPA | ATEF SAFADI

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