Israel woke up to a surprise attack on Oct. 7th by heavily armed Hamas militants who infiltrated the country by land, sea, and air. The country’s embattled prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared Israel was at war, calling up thousands of reservists and responding with aerial attacks on Gaza.
As analysts have pointed out in FP, the fact that Hamas has taken hostages significantly complicates Israel’s response.
How did we get here? What happens next? Aaron David Miller worked closely with six Republican and Democratic secretaries of state on Washington’s Middle East policy. Speaking on FP Live, he reflected on how he was viewing Hamas’s deadly weekend attack and Israel’s response.
“This might include a transformation point,” said Aaron David Miller when asked just how unprecedented Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel was.
Aaron David Miller breaks down how Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza immensely complicate Israel’s position and options moving forward.
Aaron David Miller, a former State Department Middle East negotiator, tells FP Live that this was an intelligence and operation failure on the part of the Israelis. The largest failure, he said, is that “Israel completely misjudged Hamas’s capabilities, motives, and intentions.”
Aaron David Miller, who has studied the Middle East for decades and served as a top advisor to several U.S. administrations, told FP Live: “Some will argue … this is who Hamas is and this is what they do. But it’s still to me stunning and quite extraordinary the level of brutality and savagery.”
On Iran’s role, Aaron David Miller says he believes there was coordination between Hamas and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and that their objectives coincided but that he is not convinced Tehran planned, directed, and orchestrated these attacks.
Aaron David Miller
Senior fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former U.S. State Department Middle East analyst and negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations. He is the author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President.
Editor in chief, Foreign Policy
Ravi Agrawal is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy, the host of FP Live, and a regular world affairs analyst on TV and radio. Before joining FP in 2018, Agrawal worked at CNN for more than a decade in full-time roles spanning three continents, including as the network’s New Delhi bureau chief and correspondent. He is the author of India Connected: How the Smartphone Is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy.