Following a brief pause in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, hostilities resumed after a hostage and prisoner exchange between the two nations. The temporary truce, facilitated by Qatar and the United States, allowed for the safe delivery of aid to Gaza. While the ceasefire offered relief to residents in Northern Gaza, who have borne the brunt of relentless Israeli bombings, reports have now surfaced suggesting that the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of an impending Hamas attack on 7 October more than a year in advance. Evidence cited by The New York Times, including documents, emails, and interviews, indicates that Israel had prior knowledge of the planned attack well before it was executed.
Analysts have previously claimed that Hamas had been launching attacks on Israel prior to 7 October in order to discern any vulnerabilities in Israel's vaunted "Iron Dome" defense system. These analysts suggest that the Hamas attack on 7 October was successful because they had spent considerable time studying and targeting weaknesses within the Israeli defense apparatus.
In July, a veteran analyst from Unit 8200, Israel's signals intelligence agency, warned that Hamas had conducted an extensive day-long training exercise that mirrored what was later outlined in the attack plan.
The New York Times report states that the Israeli military initially dismissed the possibility of a Hamas attack, deeming it too ambitious and difficult for the group to carry out. The nearly 40-page document, codenamed "Jericho Wall" by Israeli authorities, reportedly detailed the exact kind of devastating invasion that resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 individuals. According to The New York Times, the document outlined a systematic assault aimed at overwhelming the fortifications around Gaza, capturing Israeli cities, and storming key military bases, including a division headquarters.
Remarkably, Hamas adhered closely to the plan laid out in the document. The NYT report reveals that the document described the initial barrage of rockets to distract Israeli soldiers and drive them into their bunkers, the use of drones to disable security cameras and automated machine guns along the border, and coordinated infiltration of Israel by gunmen using paragliders, motorcycles, and on foot. The events unfolded as described in the document.
However, it remains unclear whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other senior political leaders were aware of the attack plans that had been acquired by the Israel Defense Forces.
Key details from the Jericho Wall document, as outlined by The New York Times, include:
- Rocket attacks as a diversionary tactic to lure Israeli soldiers into bunkers
- Use of drones to neutralize security measures along the Israel-Gaza border fence
- Hamas fighters breaking through 60 points in the wall and crossing into Israel
- Capturing the Israeli military base in Re'im, which houses the Gaza division responsible for the region's protection
- Other bases under the division's command were also targeted
The document begins with a quote from the Quran: "Surprise them through the gate. If you do, you will certainly prevail."