Rosh Hashanah comes on the eve of September 24, for which Hamas had planned a heinous terror assault to welcome in the Jewish New Year. The start of the current conflagration has hopefully brought any possibility of this grand terrorist strike collapsing down as are the tunnels which it planned to utilize. Along with the plans for the Rosh Hashanah assault the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers also found scores of exact replicas of IDF fatigue uniforms, handcuffs, tranquilizers, syringes, maps and other provisions which filled in any gaps of the discovered plans. This assault was planned to begin in the Jewish towns and cities closest to Gaza and to spread from there to as far as possible across Israel with attacks similar in nature to the assault on Mumbai, India. There seemed to be two separate goals set out for this invasion; first to take as many live hostages as possible, and second to murder even more numbers with some units continuing killing until killed moving towards the major population centers around Tel Aviv. The forces heading furthest into Israel were likely to be wearing the IDF uniforms making them more difficult to differentiate from actual IDF soldiers thus facilitating their ability to spread carnage at one location and then move on to another location unmolested as they were perceived to be actual IDF forces seeking the terrorists.
Where there have been no actual releases of the exact plans other than the basic discoveries, it is not difficult to discern their likely battle plans. The first items which stand out are obviously the handcuffs, syringes and tranquilizers. These would be used to take hostages after removing their abilities to resist through cuffing and tranquilizing. They would be seeking women and children as they would be least able to resist being subdued and these abductions would come after the initial slaughtering of people at their intended target place. My guess is that the maps indicated the locations of the Synagogues in all of the targeted communities as this is where many Jews would be congregated on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. They would initially assault the main chapel where services would be conducted. The initial entry would be by assault groups of terrorists who would indiscriminately shoot anybody they saw and only after slaughtering the majority and removing any potential resistance or threat would they then select from the survivors those they would take as hostages. Any potential hostage which offered effective resistance would be shot dead on the spot. These assault teams would likely have been briefed and shown pictures of their intended targets, as these teams would be given a series of locations to assault in some pre-thought-out order such that detection of the attack could be minimized for as long a period as possible. Detection would be their greatest threat as that would initiate a response which would also sound alarms placing people on guard and expecting attacks.
These initial assaults were to be spread over a wide region so as to maximize the initial shock and cause as much confusion as possible. This was the intended use for the extensive tunnel complex which covered and provided access to many of the neighborhoods on the Gaza border. Select tunnels were dug into the middle of some of the smaller communities and farms while others were dug to provide access deep into southern Israel to place terrorist forces well on their way to Ashdod, Ashkelon, and even Beer Sheva. Special units who would be wearing IDF uniforms would be tasked to procure transportation, both civilian vehicles and IDF vehicles such as Humvees and other transports. These would be utilized to extend the reach and range in which the terrorists could attack and spread destruction. This was to be the ultimate assault in which they expected to slaughter Israelis by the thousands and capture hostages in the hundreds and throw all of Israeli society and government into a state of unrecoverable shock spreading panic as far and wide as possible. How far into Israel Hamas terrorists might be capable of reaching is anybody’s guess. There has been limited commentary or at least limited release of information on the estimates for how far these attacks might have been capable of reaching. It is guaranteed that having hundreds of terrorists in IDF uniforms and possibly utilizing IDF vehicles that they would be difficult to differentiate from authentic IDF troops responding to call-ups which would certainly have gone out once the initial assaults were perceived. Much of the confusion and difficulties would be very similar to the onset of the Yom Kippur War as it being the start of Rosh Hashanah, many IDF soldiers and almost all reservists would not be on duty with the majority in Synagogue. The hope is that the plans put in place after that debacle would be sufficient to allow a general call-up of sufficient IDF units which could readily respond to the threat.
This would have been a disastrous situation had Hamas been able to execute such a plan. These assault plans were an important and crucial addition which made the sophistication and extensive and wide reach of the Hamas tunnel system that much more of a threat. The fact that the IDF and Israeli intelligence gathering departments were caught completely flatfooted and without any true perception to the extent of the Hamas tunnel systems is greatly disturbing and is something which must be remedied if the IDF and government is to be capable of protecting the civilian population. The really disturbing truth is that had Hamas not started lobbing rockets throughout the Israeli countryside aimed at the most populous areas in the nation and forced the current conflict, this unprecedented assault scenario might have come to fruition and realized its worst of all possible ends against Israel. Hamas planned to send literally thousands, or possibly over ten thousand, terrorist units through the tunnel complex having them disembark from their underground lairs over as wide an area as permitted with each group emerging from different positions along the length of each tunnel passage. This would have permitted the terrorists to have immediate blanket coverage and control over the entire areas within three to five miles, depending on which tunnel complex, of the region bordering Gaza. These infiltrators would have emerged beyond the watchtowers making their detection more difficult. Add the attack being planned for dusk or early nightfall and the cover of darkness would simply add to their avoiding detection, increasing their stealth and extending their range for having the advantage of surprise on assaulting their selected targets. The main advantage Israel has gained by Hamas misplaying their hand has been the uncovering of this threat and removing their ability to even attempt such an attack and likely saved countless Israeli lives and possibly the existence of the nation itself.
That having been said, the latest of events with the abduction of Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, the conflict had taken on a completely different direction. There is but one goal for the IDF until Lieutenant Hadar Goldin has been rescued or released, and that is finding or affecting his release. The return of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who has become to be every Israelis’ son, is uppermost in the hearts and minds of an entire nation. Our hearts are as one with the family of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and our prayers are with the family of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin as well. Even the suggestion of any ceasefire, humanitarian or otherwise, is beyond possibility if Lieutenant Hadar Goldin is still being held by Hamas. There will be those who will in their ignorance compare Lieutenant Hadar Goldin with a prisoner of war. He is no such thing as Hamas does not intend to release him at any time in the future as they believe in their Charter and the calls it makes for them to murder every Jew in every nation. Hamas sees Lieutenant Hadar Goldin as a commodity they can trade for thousands of their terrorists in Israeli prisons for their murderous acts of terror. He is not even considered to be a human being as could be proven by the condition of Gilad Shalit after five years of being malnourished and denied the light of day. Gilad Shalit was returned gaunt and pale to the point of illness and weakness that displayed his mistreatment during his detention where he was treated as a captive animal, not as a human being. Lieutenant Hadar Goldin now faces a similar fate and as such that cannot be accepted and there can be no truce or cessation to IDF efforts to force his release or rescue him from Hamas or Islamic Jihad captivity. Should Secretary Kerry return waving a piece of paper declaring peace in our time and not have Lieutenant Hadar Goldin at his side, that must be refused and his return made priority one. There should be no mistake that Israel realizes fully the perfidy of Hamas and their intentions including their intentions for Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and those intentions are unacceptable. Hamas must be made aware that there will be no exit by the IDF and no end to their turning Gaza upside down and inside out until they locate and gain the freedom of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin. Should Hamas desire a cessation to the current conflict, such would be readily within their powers to facilitate and that starts with the release of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin. I do not know how many more ways the point can be made and if Prime Minister Netanyahu cannot grasp this simple concept, then he does not wish to continue as our leader. Mr. Prime Minister, a leader sometimes must satisfy the singular desire of the people as the price of leadership and anything less is an abdication of your responsibilities as our leader. Understand that the Israeli people hold you as responsible for gaining the release of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and will hold you equally responsible as we hold Hamas, should you permit an end to our forces efforts in Gaza prior to his release. And should Hamas et al claim they believe him deceased, then demand they produce his remains in order his family be permitted his proper and respectful burial and the people to attend and witness his burial and attain closure. The release of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin or his remains is a truth that the people of Israel hold amongst the highest priorities and one the government is not just obliged to perform but required as proof they represent the Israeli people as to fail will be sufficient to prove the need for elections to find a governance which responds to the wills of the people and not folding before the worldly forces from without. It is as simple as the question of who do you serve, the people of Israel or the demands of foreign masters. You actions will be our answer.