In an article published by Vanity Fair this month, a publication not necessarily known for its hard-hitting international affairs reporting, new information regarding Israel’s war this summer has come to light. Vanity Fair interviewed Israeli and Hamas officials to get their take on the war. Hamas chief Khalid Mishal justified the planned attacks, which for Israel would have been like its 9/11, “He insists his group only targets soldiers and those living on occupied territory.” Considering according to Hamas’ own charter all of Israel is “occupied territory” the interview is an admission that the attack was targeted for Israeli soldiers and civilians alike.
Vanity Fair reports, surprisingly fairly, on the bone-chilling attack that Israel was able to only narrowly avert,
As a senior military intelligence official later explained, the anticipated attack was designed with two purposes in mind. “First, get in and massacre people in a village. Pull off something they could show on television. Second, the ability to kidnap soldiers and civilians using the tunnels would give them a great bargaining chip.”
Mishal [a Hamas official] insists that “the tunnels may have been outwardly called ‘offensive tunnels,’ but in actual fact they are ‘defensive’ ones.’” When pressed to explain why most of the tunnels actually ended up under or near civilian communities or kibbutzim—not military bases—he concedes, “Yes, true. There are Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza. Have any of the tunnels been used to kill any civilian or any of the residents of such towns? No. Never! . . . [Hamas] used them either to strike beyond the back lines of the Israeli army or to raid some military sites . . . This proves that Hamas is only defending itself.”
Reports would later surface that Hamas’s main attack was planned to coincide with the Jewish New Year—Rosh Hashanah—in September 2014. “It may have been,” says a top intelligence official, in his office in the Kirya, Israel’s Pentagon. “But ultimately everything was moved up. Hamas’s grand plan for the tunnels failed because the kidnapping set things in motion before Hamas had everything ready.”
In light of this new interview, what do you think of Israel’s war in Gaza this summer? Did it go too far or not far enough?