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Gaza's Tunnels Uncovered: Rethinking Israel's Security Approach After the NYT Exposé


A recent investigative report by the New York Times has unveiled startling insights into Israel's underestimation of the tunnel network in Gaza. This network, a focal point of Hamas' strategic planning, has been extensively developed over the last 15 years. The investigation reveals the surprising sophistication of equipment and the vast extent of these tunnels, with estimates indicating about 700 km (450 miles) of tunnels and 5700 shafts beneath the 365 square kilometer area of the Gaza Strip. Notably, these tunnels are located under critical civilian infrastructure such as schools, mosques, and hospitals, suggesting the Gazan population had a broad awareness of the project, all while the Israeli intelligence had no comprehension of its scope and sophistication.

 

This tunnel network serves multiple strategic functions for Hamas. It offers a shield for its leaders, enables rapid recovery and reassertion of control in areas vacated by the IDF, facilitates ongoing rocket attacks, and demonstrates effective command and control. The scale and sophistication of this project underscore the formidable challenge Israel faces in its endeavor to dismantle Hamas. 

 

Tunnel in Gaza

Against the background of the transition to a phase of low-intensity fighting and the fear of a humanitarian crisis, voices are growing calling for a cessation of hostilities as part of a deal that will allow the abductees to return home. Such a deal would apparently allow Israel to deal with Hamas at a later date.

All signs show that the war is progressing exactly according to the scenario that Sinwar prepared for. Hamas did not try to prevent the Israeli invasion of Gaza, but "invited" it. The dimensions of the destruction in Gaza do not make him recalculate his course (w wrote at the beginning of the war "Why is it still worth going into a planned ambush"). Hamas estimated that without significant achievements, and while the impression is created that subduing Hamas is impossible, the internal and international pressure to stop the fighting will increase, until Israel is forced to stop. Hamas' goal is to survive the war, that will be its victory. But what does that actually mean?


Sinwar understands that the survival of Hamas rule in Gaza means that in the next round - which will surely come and likely to be more complex - Israel will internalize that Hamas, the weakest of its enemies, cannot be defeated. Therefore the calls to deal with Hamas at a later date are misleading. The lack of trust in the IDF will have dramatic implications for national resilience. The establishment of the State of Israel expressed the return of the people of Israel to their homeland, but there is no doubt that the murderous pogroms in Europe played an important role in the popularity of the Zionist movement. But the pogrom on October 7th was one of the most morderous  in modern Jewish history. Without a decisive victory, The pretext for the establishment of the State of Israel will be portrayed as an empty promise that will lead to a deep social fracture and a collapse of "faith in the righteousness of the way".


Addressing the challenge of defeating Hamas, while daunting, is not impossible. The extensive tunnel network, though vast, is ultimately finite. Israel must terminate the war when Hamas no longer controls Gaza, even if it means that it will have to temporarily reoccupy of the Strip.  This objective demands a unified national effort, transcending immediate challenges and requiring patience. Israel faces a moment of truth, this is an existential war. Recognizing this is necessary.


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