The Hamas Plan
Here is a picture that is making the rounds. I can't vouch for its authenticity. It purports to be the picture of a man who may or may not be the children's father, literally hanging them on what is reported to be his house in order to prevent Israeli forces from shelling his home.
Again I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this picture in any way, but if it is authentic, it presupposes one fact not present in the photo; namely that the person hanging the children on his house to prevent IDF forces from shelling it, KNOWS that Hamas forces are either launching rockets, mortars, or shooting at Israeli soldiers or civilians from somewhere NEAR his house, thus turning it into a Military target.
That part I can guarantee you is accurate because it is Hamas doctrine; to fire at Israeli civilians and soldiers from within densely populated neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and mosques. That is because their doctrine, as a terrorist army fighting a Western democracy, is to commit acts of terror against us, while claiming the mantle of victimhood for themselves. That quite simply is the way they fight; shoot from a neighborhood or near a school or hospital. If you kill our soldiers, or better still, our civilians, that's a victory. If we return fire and kill one of their civilians, however, that's the sweetest victory of all, and part of the world buys it, and in so doing, assures that there will be more babies to hide behind in order to create more scenes of dead children and wailing mothers. In that way they are not terrorists in the eyes of many well intentioned people in the west. They are a " Resistance" movement.
This war is Hamas's offensive. They had a plan and from their point of view it was a good one. Read any objective analysis you like from any objective source. They all say the exact same thing; Hamas was facing pressure from within. On the one hand they were unable, through a combination of greed and mismanagement, to pay forty thousand of their own workers and more importantly their soldiers. They were in fear of being ousted for the commonest reason any government is tossed aside by it's populace: their people's lives were miserable, they hadn't delivered on any of their promises.
And people were fed up. On the other hand, they were being pressured by even more radical groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad for not being militant enough. So they decided an offensive against Israel, a new war, their third in five years, would both enhance their prestige and provide an excuse for the misery of their people. They would deliver a " divine victory" that would deal with both their problems.
And they had excellent reason to believe it would succeed. Because they had developed a secret weapon. Google "Hamas promises surprises" and you'll see them bragging about the "surprise" they have waiting for Israel and the world. It was the tunnels, or more precisely a network of dozens of tunnels, interconnecting and going beneath Israel's border, and coming up right next to, and, at times, inside Israel's farming communities along the border.
The original plan, we now know, called for a mass attack of hundreds of terrorists emerging from the tunnels on Rosh Hashanah, a time when each communal dining hall in the farming villages would be packed with as many as eight hundred people in each one, men, women and especially children who would be killed, maimed, drugged, handcuffed, and dragged back through the tunnels into underground prisons in Gaza. We know that because in addition to weapons, they were carrying handcuffs and tranquilizers. For Israel it would have been the biggest catastrophe in its history, quite literally the worst disaster to befall the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
How could Israel have counter attacked with hundreds of hostages, women and children in Hamas' hands? Hamas would have been able to say for every bullet you fire we will kill one child -- and show you his mutilated body. We will execute him and post it on YouTube. What would Israel have done? What could it have done?
But there was one problem with that plan. It was so horrifically barbaric that the entire world would have been against Hamas. They had to find a way in which to turn such barbarism into " resistance" into the only way these victims of Zionist aggression could fight back against tanks nd fighter planes.
The answer was simple. Drag Israel into a war and then carry out a series of smaller terrorist tunnel attacks. Israel had traded 1000 convicted terrorists for one soldier. What would they trade for a few dozen women and children?
And how do you drag Israel into a war it will do anything to avoid? Simple again, kidnap And murder three school boys on their way home from school. Amazingly, and certainly to their disappointment, Israel didn't take the bait. Not one shot was fired into Gaza. Instead Israel searched frantically for the boys and rounded up every Hamas operative it could find in the West Bank.
When the kidnapping and murder of three boys didn't get a response, Hamas began its rocket attacks, and still Israel refrained from anything but the mildest response, bombing empty Hamas training camps and saying calm would be answered with calm. So Hamas ratcheted up the rocket attacks until Israel had to respond with an aerial campaign. After eight days and some 190 Palestinians killed, Egypt proposed a cease-fire. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority endorsed it, the US And EU welcomed it, the Arab League endorsed it... and Israel accepted it immediately and unconditionally.
That was Hamas' worst nightmare. Their over one thousand rocket attacks had done nothing, and yet their people's lives were even more miserable. They could blame the bad economy on Israeli bombing but at that point the destruction was not great enough to distract attention from their utter and complete failure, both in peace and in war. But they had the secret weapon that would allow them to commit the greatest terrorist attack ever perpetrated against the Zionist enemy. The Divine Victory at last!
So they launched a massive rocket attack as a cover for the terrorist tunnel attack they launched later in the day. Israeli forces however, detected, destroyed and drove back the few terrorists who were not killed into their tunnel and back into Gaza.
Then Israel realized the extent of the catastrophe it had just barely avoided. It had absolutely no choice but to launch a ground offensive to destroy the tunnels that were literally a dagger at the throats of our civilian population.
This is a war of Hamas's design and making. They are responsible for every single Palestinian death that has happened since then. Over a thousand of their own people whose deaths were completely preventable if they had accepted the cease-fire, and completely predictable by anyone who knows how they fight. Look at the picture. Terrorism wearing the mantle of victimhood.
Dan Gordon is a captain in the IDF ( Res)