The New York Times ran a story, dated Nov. 30, reporting that Israeli intelligence obtained a copy of the battle plan that became Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack more than a year before it happened. The 40-page translated document, which the Times said that it reviewed, did not set a date for the attack, but described a methodical assault designed to overwhelm the fortifications around the Gaza Strip, take over Israeli cities and storm key military bases, including a division headquarters. “Hamas followed the blueprint with shocking precision,” the Times says. Israeli intelligence dubbed the plan “Jericho Wall.” The Times says that it is unclear whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other top political leaders saw the document, but the report nonetheless adds to the growing body of evidence of the malfeasance, and/or negligence, and/or evil design on the part of the Israeli government that helped set the stage for the Oct. 7 attack.
Last year, shortly after the document was obtained, officials in the Israeli military’s Gaza division, which is responsible for defending the border with Gaza, said that Hamas’s intentions were unclear. “It is not yet possible to determine whether the plan has been fully accepted and how it will be manifested,” read a military assessment reviewed by the Times. One of the two co-authors of the article is Ronen Bergman, political and military analyst for Yedioth Ahronoth and who did his military service in IDF intelligence.
In July, just three months before the attacks, a veteran analyst with Unit 8200, Israel’s signals intelligence agency, warned that Hamas had conducted an intense, daylong training exercise that appeared similar to what was outlined in the blueprint, the Times reports, citing encrypted emails that it reviewed. But a colonel in the Gaza division brushed off her concerns. “I utterly refute that the scenario is imaginary,” the analyst wrote in the email exchanges. The Hamas training exercise, she said, fully matched “the content of Jericho Wall.”
“It is a plan designed to start a war,” she added. “It’s not just a raid on a village.”
The Jericho Wall document, the Times says, lays bare a years-long cascade of missteps that culminated in what officials now regard as the worst Israeli intelligence failure since the surprise attack that led to the Arab-Israeli war of October 1973. Underpinning all these failures was a single, fatally inaccurate belief that Hamas lacked the capability to attack and would not dare to do so. That belief was so ingrained in the Israeli government, officials said, that they disregarded growing evidence to the contrary.
“What could have been an intelligence coup turned into one of the worst miscalculations in Israel’s 75-year history,” the Times says.