What major news outlets have completely missed is not the fact that Israel invaded. The story they have missed is that Hamas knowingly provoked Israel's incursion because this was to be their offensive. It had been planned and prepared for months. It was their strategy, their tactics, their battlefield, prepared according to their doctrine, to be fought at the time of their choosing.Read the whole thing.
I first put on the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces over 35 years ago. I have been involved in four wars and countless training exercises preparing for war. I have watched Israel's doctrine change and adapt to almost every new eventuality and the one thing I can say with absolute clarity and certainty is that Israel never goes to war in the winter time of its own accord. Never. When Israel can choose, its offensives take place in the spring and summer. It is as if there is a line drawn across the calendar that says from mid autumn and until well into the spring Israeli doctrine precludes offensive action.
The reason is quite simple, the cloud cover and rain of winter time can neutralize Israel's advantage in air and armor. Even with the most advanced avionics, aircraft have a tough time taking out targets which they cannot see because of cloud cover. Rain can turn the terrain of southern Israel into a soupy mud that can bog down Israel's tanks and armored personnel carriers making them sitting ducks for anti tank rockets and missiles. Israel has never gone to war in the winter of its own choosing, which is precisely why Hamas chose the dead of winter for its offensive.
The villages of the Gaza strip were criss crossed with tunnels dug underneath the houses. Not weapons smuggling tunnels, mind you, these were kidnapping tunnels. They were communication tunnels through which Hamas militants could go unseen from house to house and carry out combat in a civilian environment disappearing from one house, as it came under fire, to pop up in another. Those tunnels were not dug after Israel invaded as a response to that invasion. No one in Hamas said "Quick let's dig these tunnels because the Israelis are coming!"
This was their battlefield and they prepared it according to a doctrine that said they would launch rockets from civilian areas in order to draw Israeli troops into those areas. They would turn whole villages into booby trapped battlefields while the villagers were still in them. Their hope was to kill two to three hundred Israeli soldiers and kidnap and take prisoner as many as fifty.
At the same time, because they were fighting in civilian areas, their plan was to maximize civilian casualties amongst their own people. In this way, any action Israel took against Hamas fighters would become a war crime. Photos of innocent Palestinians killed in an Israeli onslaught would arouse public sympathy and that sympathy in turn could be translated into political pressure to effectuate a cease fire advantageous to Hamas. In that way, they could at one and the same time, wear the mantle of victimhood and victor. ...
Hamas' plan was to fire from civilian houses, draw infantry into those houses which were booby trapped, and then kill and wound soldiers inside. There were kidnapping teams standing by in the tunnels to pop up from under a false floor and drag the wounded soldiers or the bodies of the dead into those tunnels which criss crossed the whole village. Once inside the tunnels, the dead and wounded Israeli soldiers could be whisked off and taken prisoner. I held the map the reporter referred to of the village and studied it with an intelligence officer. The entire village is laid out as a battlefield... with the villagers still in it, sometimes unaware that their own houses or the houses of neighbors have been rigged. This plan was duplicated throughout Gaza.
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