Israel KNEW about Hamas’ attack plan more than a year before Oct. 7 massacre but failed to act on it
When Hamas terrorists killed more than a thousand Israelis and took hundreds hostage on October 7, the incident was widely described as a “surprise attack.” However, the New York Times reports that the incursion was not nearly as unexpected as it is being portrayed.
In fact, it all played out very similarly to a Hamas plan the Israeli military has been aware of more than a year, according to the news outlet. Although the plan did not provide a date for the attacks, it did go through the types of violence seen on October 7 “point by point”. The document provided details of an assault that would see Hamas fighters overwhelming the fortifications surrounding the Gaza Strip and then taking over Israeli cities and going after important military bases.
The Times reports that Israeli officials received a 40-page battle plan detailing a hypothetical attack by Hamas on neighborhoods in Southern Israel. They report that multiple intelligence leaders and military officials saw it, although it is not clear if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of it. Although it is not known how Israel obtained the plan, it had been translated, presumably from Arabic, which means it may have been intercepted from someone associated with Hamas.
At the time, Israeli intelligence and military officials dismissed the plan, which they assigned the code name “Jericho Wall”, believing that it would be too challenging for Hamas to successfully carry out. They considered it to be something Hamas might be dreaming of doing eventually but did not think they were anywhere near being able to pull such a feat off. Hamas reportedly started to devise the plan in 2012, refining it over the years as they obtained better intelligence.
Israel’s big intelligence blunder
New York Times Staff Writer Ronen Bergman, who wrote the report, joined Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC to talk about the report. He said he believed the date of the attack was not chosen by accident; it was a day after the 50-year anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War, another deadly conflict that took Israel by surprise. He referred to October 7 as Israel’s “biggest intelligence blunder in 50 years and a day,” noting that officials thought Hamas was “afraid of Israel” and wouldn’t go up against them. He also believes they underestimated their capabilities.
He said: “If you look at the plan, it’s amazing. It’s shocking, both as a journalist and as an Israeli, the extent of knowledge that Hamas had about Israel, about Israeli secret fortification in the border.”
Not only did Israel know that Hamas was hoping to pull something like this off eventually, but the NYT report says that they could have potentially stopped them.
“Officials privately concede that, had the military taken these warnings seriously and redirected significant reinforcements to the south, where Hamas attacked, Israel could have blunted the attacks or possibly even prevented them.”
The report added that the terrorists had “followed the blueprint with shocking precision.” It included details that matched what ultimately happened on October 7, such as using drones to disable security cameras, sending gunmen into Israel on paragliders and motorcycles, and barrages of rockets.
U.S. intelligence community believed an escalation in violence was imminent
The U.S. also had some idea that an attack could be in the works, with at least two assessments based partly on intelligence from Israel warning the Biden administration there was a growing risk of a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the weeks before October 7.
For example, a September 28 report cautioned that Hamas was about to escalate its rocket attacks across the border, while a CIA wire from October 5 – just two days before the massacre – warned of a rising possibility of Hamas violence. A day later, American officials circulated reports from Israel that Hamas was carrying out unusual activity.
Many Israeli officials claim that these intelligence failures will be investigated after the war, but they will eventually have to be held accountable for the fact that they had in their possession what was essentially a blueprint outlining what ended up happening on October 7 in such great detail and failed to act on it. The question is, how many lives will be lost on both sides on account of this monumental failure?
Sources for this article include: