Israel’s Destruction of a Terror Tunnel Dealt a Harsh Blow to Hamas and Islamic Jihad

On Monday, the IDF demolished a tunnel, constructed by Islamic Jihad, that stretched from inside Gaza to an Israeli kibbutz. The IDF reportedly used new monitoring technology to detect and locate the subterranean passageway. Yoni Ben Menachem writes:

The tunnel-digging is a large-scale project that employs thousands of people and costs tens of millions of dollars. Hamas and Islamic Jihad receive financial and technological assistance from Iran for the project. A large portion of the financial resources also comes from tax revenues that are supposed to alleviate Gaza’s electricity, water, and employment shortages but are diverted to tunnel-building.

On October 24, 2017, Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza who is also the commander of the organization’s military wing, boasted that [his forces] can now fire in 51 minutes the same number of rockets they fired at Israel during the 51 days of Operation Protective Edge [in 2014]. . . . Hamas and Islamic Jihad see the tunnels into Israeli territory as a “strategic weapon” that deters Israel.

They have adopted a tunnel-digging method taken from the Viet Cong playbook. The aim is to infiltrate Israel by surprise with large forces that will capture territories, attack communities and IDF bases near the Gaza border, and kidnap civilians and soldiers for bargaining purposes. . . . The . . . subterranean offensive [would] take place when Hamas and Islamic Jihad launch a ground and rocket offensive, surprising Israel and establishing a major military advantage in the initial stages of the fighting. . . .

Beyond the eight Palestinian operatives who were killed in the strike on the tunnel, including the commander of Islamic Jihad’s central-Gaza brigade and his deputy, the operation dealt a harsh operational and psychological blow to Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The organizations had portrayed the tunnels as a special weapon for which Israel had no solution.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Gaza, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7