Israel knew about Hamas’s plan for over a year: why it didn’t act, the background

The revelation from the NYT citing a document of around 40 pages that the Israeli authorities had called ‘Walls of Jericho’

Israel had been aware of a Hamas plan to strike the country more than a year earlier that the terrorist group launched the surprise attack on October 7th. This was reported by the New York Times, according to which Israeli military and intelligence officials considered the plan too ambitious and too difficult for Hamas to implement.

The approximately 40-page document, which the Israeli authorities called code ‘Walls of Jericho’, described, point by point, the invasion that sparked the current war between Israel and Hamas, but gave no date for the attack. However, reportedly it described a methodical assault which was intended to overwhelm fortifications around Gaza, capture Israeli cities and storm key military bases, including a division headquarters.

Hamasthe Times noted, he followed the plan with shocking precision. The document called for a barrage of rockets at the start of the attack, drones to disable security cameras and automatic machine guns along the border, and incursion of armed men into Israel on foot, parachute and motorcycle. Everything that happened on October 7th.

In the plan, which was distributed widely among Israeli military and intelligence leaders, there isthey were also details on the locations of Israeli bases, so precise as to seem like a serious internal leak. The response of the military leaders? It was an overly ambitious plan and it was not clear how it could be realized. It is unclear whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other senior political leaders also saw the document.

Then, in July, just three months before the attacks, a veteran analyst from Unit 8200, Israel’s intelligence agency, warned that Hamas had conducted an intense one-day exercise that appeared similar to what was described in the plan. But a colonel in the Gaza division played down his concerns, according to encrypted emails seen by the Times. “I absolutely deny that the scenario is imaginary,” the analyst wrote in email exchanges. The Hamas exercise, he said, fully corresponded “to the content of the Walls of Jericho.” “It’s a plan designed to start a war,” he added. “It’s not just a raid on a village.”

Officials have privately admitted that if the military had taken these warnings seriously and redirected significant reinforcements to the south, where Hamas struck, Israel might have blunted the attacks or perhaps even prevented them. Instead, the Israeli army found itself unprepared as the terrorists exited the Gaza Strip. And it was the deadliest day in Israel’s history.