Hamas and Its Tunnels of Terror

In a series of interviews with Vanity Fair, Israeli intelligence officials have revealed the extent of Hamas’s complex system of tunnels and its (temporarily) thwarted plans for a series of violent attacks on civilians. No less informative in their way are the vigorous denials of Khaled Meshal, Hamas’s leader. But Hamas’s tunnels are not the end of it. Israel must also contend with the threat of a nuclear Iran, spillover from the Syrian civil war, and this:

Tensions have also escalated on Israel’s other northern border—with Lebanon. In the past week a member of the Syrian opposition was quoted as telling CNN that Hizballah appears determined to flex its military muscle on the Israeli border. IDF troops have fortified their positions there. And Israel has other worries as well. Sources in these northern neighborhoods tell Vanity Fair that the IDF is planning to send an engineering team to one of the Israeli towns whose residents have been awakened by subterranean clamor. Although some officials are publicly skeptical (possibly to avoid alarming residents and parry criticism that they have ignored another threat), privately they say they have serious concerns about what Hizballah might have in the works. A recent account in the Arab newsmagazine al-Watan al-Arabi quotes a Hizballah member as asserting: “Quality-wise, [our tunnels] are on par with the metro tunnels in the major European cities.”

Read more at Vanity Fair

More about: Hamas, Hizballah, Khaled Meshal, Protective Edge, Terrorism

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