Nearly a decade ago, Col. (res.) Yossi Langotsky warned that the underground passageways of Gaza were a strategic danger, but almost no one took his report seriously.
By Amir Oren, HAARETZ | Jul. 22, 2014
Forty-five years ago, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Eight years after President John F. Kennedy promised to send a man to the moon — and bring him back, a mission just as complex — he realized that goal. It’s true that no armed and hostile moon-men were lying in wait for Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s spaceship to arrive, nor was their landing disturbed by gunfire.
But the Apollo program overcame much greater challenges than the ones that are giving Israel a hard time in its war against Hamas. It is hard to believe that the human mind, and the Israeli intellect in particular, allowed the tunnel issue to swell from a weakness to a monstrous threat in as long as it took to develop lunar travel. In the end, the problem is not the tunnel, but the wall — the one inside the Israeli security agencies and the minds of those who run them. REMEMBER THIS IS HAARETZ REPORTING.
Determination to create an underground network of tunnels is not a Hamas invention. Incarcerated criminals and prisoners of war all over the world have escaped through tunnels they dug under the noses of their guards and captors. We saw a reminder of that this week with the death of actor James Garner, one of whose films was “The Great Escape.”
Members of the prestate underground militias, Haganah and Etzel, dug tunnels for attack and for escape (here and in Eritrea, where some were incarcerated by the British). The Ayalon Institute near Rehovot, which was run by the group that established Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael, operated an underground munitions plant that was vital to the war effort. After all, that is the nature of an underground organization — it exists in hiding, beneath the surface.
But there is a significant difference between a retailer and a wholesaler, between a terrorist group’s basic ability to hijack an aircraft and the next stage of hijacking four of them simultaneously to fly them to Jordan to bargain for a prisoner exchange — and the more advanced stage of crashing fuel-laden aircraft into office towers and a defense headquarters.
To see how Israel allowed the tunnels to endanger it so much that it was finally drawn, against all rational thought, into a bloody conflict, and how a military operation of aerial attack and rocket interception with no casualties turned into a lethal confrontation of a scope that approaches the Battle of Karameh in 1968 and Operation Litani a decade later, the state comptroller will not be enough.
Irrational decision making
Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Beinhorn, the defense establishment comptroller, is the brother of Brig. Gen. (res.) Shmuel Keren, who was the head of the Defense R & D Directorate during most of the time that this failure took place. An unbiased, professional investigative committee is essential. Maybe it …read more