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Weingarten: New report on the Israel-Hamas war needs more attention

Opinion+Editor+Caleb+Weingarten+explains+how+a+new+report+in+The+New+York+Times+represents+a+turning+point+in+the+Israel-Hamas+conflict.+
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Opinion Editor Caleb Weingarten explains how a new report in The New York Times represents a turning point in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

On Nov. 30, The New York Times (NYT) reported that “Israeli officials obtained Hamas’s battle plan before the Oct. 7 terrorist attack more than a year before it happened, documents, emails and interviews show. But Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the plan as aspirational, considering it too difficult for Hamas to carry out.” 

The NYT bases its report on a 40-page document titled “Jericho Wall” which allegedly “outline, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.” The report goes on to state that “Hamas followed the blueprint with shocking precision. The document called for a barrage of rockets at the outset of the attack, drones to knock out the security cameras and automated machine guns along the border, and gunmen to pour into Israel en masse in paragliders, on motorcycles and on foot – all of which happened on Oct. 7.” 

Hamas’ plan supposedly contained sensitive details about Israel’s military forces and centers of communication. If Israel truly wanted to prevent this from happening, why didn’t they? According to the report, Israel invested their faith in the fact that Hamas did not have the capability to perform such an attack. “The belief was so ingrained in the Israeli government, officials said, that they disregarded growing evidence to the contrary.”

I truly do not understand why this is not the top story in the world. I am not suggesting that people blindly listen to one article, although it was also reported by many other outlets. However, the NYT, which is not unsympathetic to the Israeli side, must have published this article with almost complete certainty that the “Jericho Wall” exists and was circulated among Israeli officials. 

This report adds needed context to the moral justification of Israel’s response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, which, so far, has resulted in massive destruction and death in Gaza.

It also shows the incompetence of the Israeli military. Leaving Hamas aside, the main goal of a military is to protect its civilians from outside threats. The whole purpose of having an intelligence apparatus is to prevent attacks like Oct. 7, which, apparently, the Israeli military had extensive knowledge of. 

An important detail that the NYT article reports is that Hamas, after finding out that Israel had intelligence on their plan to invade, “decided to plan a new raid, unprecedented in its scope.”

On the surface, it seems this claim would exonerate Israel. If their intelligence was for a plan that Hamas didn’t intend to follow through with, how can they prepare?

“On Jul 6, 2023, the veteran Unit 8200 wrote to a group of other intelligence experts that dozens of Hamas commandos had recently conducted training exercises, with senior Hamas commanders observing…The analyst warned that the drill closely followed the Jericho Wall plan, and that Hamas was building the capacity to carry it out,” the report goes on to read.

However, the attack on Oct. 7 fit “point by point” with what Israeli intelligence had discovered. Why were they not on high alert? Simply put, there was a consensus opinion amongst Israeli officials that Hamas lacked the will or means to conduct such an attack (NOTE: We should also remember this when Israel claims Hamas has strong military capabilities. While the NYT article does state that “Hamas’s capabilities had drastically improved,” clearly, they haven’t improved enough to compel Israel into taking the proper precautions).

Since the beginning of this war, answers have been demanded for precisely what happened on Oct. 7 and how one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world allowed Hamas terrorists to breach the Gaza border. After all, if Israel had prepared for intelligence they seemingly had far before the Hamas invasion occurred, they could have prevented the damage from escalating to the point that it did. 

This report by the NYT raises alarming questions that Israel will have to answer at some point. Their response in Gaza is already criminal. If it is indeed true that Israel ignored Hamas’ plans to attack because they did not take them seriously enough, the Israeli justification begins to fall apart. 

This comes as the truce between Israel and Hamas expired and continuous fighting has ensued. In Gaza, disease is spreading, and unprecedented displacement is occurring.

Gaza has never experienced so much internal displacement in such a short time,”according to a different NYT article.

After being told to move into southern Gaza by Israel for safety, Israel now plans to move operations southward, truly embarking on the goal to maintain “overall security responsibility” of Gaza.

It is not justified for Israel to ignore intelligence and then claim that the danger they chose to ignore is an immediate threat to their very existence. It is not justified to displace over 1 million people for a goal that is unachievable. We should demand further investigation on this matter. The people in Gaza are needlessly suffering, literally left with “no safe place to go.”

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  • R

    renate dellmann | Dec 4, 2023 at 8:59 am

    even if there was a failure to take Hamas seriously, it still leaves us the fact that there is no place to go for Israel if Hamas should succeed in destroying the state and driving the Israeli into the sea.
    It would be interesting for you to explore why the Palestinians decided to make Gaza the center of attacks against Israel rather than the beginning of a flourishing, peaceful neighbor state.

    Reply
    • H

      Hal J | Dec 8, 2023 at 7:30 pm

      Yes, lets cry for Israel as they receive billions of dollars in US aid and have the most sophisticated AI security and propaganda machine run by a known fascist extremist government. Israel funneled money and support for Hamas and then “ignored” the reports that Oct 7th was going to happen, essentially bringing back their Hannibal Directive that supports killing of their own countrymen for a greater cause.

      Reply