Headline on Times of Israel: Troops kill several top Hamas commandos in a series of operations in northern Gaza
Approximately two years ago, in 2021, Hamas started planning the October 7 massacre.
The top terrorist commanders got together just after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down. Just after my little one turned 18 months. As I watched her toddle around, Hamas was already sitting in their spiderweb of tunnels, making plans to murder babies just like her. Though in the interrogations of caught terrorists, they admitted it wasn’t in the teachings of Islam, they also stated that the men had received religious permission to kill children “because they’ll grow up to be soldiers” and to decapitate “to sow fear among the Israelis.”
Hamas dug and built (even more) miles of booby-trapped tunnels with exits and entrances within mosques, hospitals and medical clinics, schools, playgrounds, kindergartens, within junkyard cars, under a child’s bed in an upscale beachside neighborhood.
According to the same article in ToI, they found 131 tunnels in the first ten days alone. The tunnels, and Hamas, have turned the entire Gaza Strip into a war zone.
Gaza is not big. It’s approximately 360 sq.km – only twice the size of Washington D.C. So why is it taking so long to go through, conquer it, and weed it of all the poison?
First off, “every square meter can hold a tunnel.” Israel is choosing to go in on foot in order to reduce civilian casualties, and she would literally have to bunker bomb all of northern Gaza and Gaza City to destroy the tunnels; on ‘foot,’ they use armored D-9 bulldozers and combat engineers.
This doesn’t include what the soldiers are still encountering as resistance. Sometimes they are approached by civilians asking for water and are then shot at from behind the civilians.
The ‘surgery’ to locate and destroy tunnels in the “Gaza metro” is painstaking. Can the Israeli army guarantee that they will find every single tunnel? No, but they’re trying (something that the government should have done at least a decade ago).
It is not cheap to build tunnels.
Nine years ago, the Israeli military estimated that Hamas spent around $30 to $90 million, and poured 600,000 tons of concrete, to build three dozen tunnels, with some tunnels estimated to have cost $3 million to construct.
Two years ago, Hamas claimed to have built 500 kilometers worth of tunnels, some several kilometers underground. Read that again. Five hundred kilometers. That means their system is a little less than half the length of the impressive New York City subway system. Think about the cost of that, the time and labor involved. What that could have been put toward.
According to the CNN article on the Gaza metro, experts say that diggers using basic tools likely burrowed deep underground to dig the network, which is wired with electricity and reinforced by concrete, only proving that Hamas has diverted concrete meant for civilian and humanitarian purposes toward the construction of tunnels underneath one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.
According to Eado Eado Hecht, an Israeli defense analyst specializing in underground warfare, there are “[t]hree different kinds of tunnels beneath Gaza, smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt; defensive tunnels inside Gaza (for command centers and weapons storage); and—connected to the defensive tunnels—offensive tunnels used for cross-border attacks on Israel,” including the capture of Israeli soldiers. This according to the Guardian in an article from 2014.
I could go on and on. And I could claim this is my new normal, but the truth is that, in Israel and worldwide, we have all known about the tunnels. The Guardian wrote in its article that [t]unnel construction began in Gaza more than a decade ago, and that itself was a decade ago.
We are all guilty of inaction and voluntary ignorance. We have all known about Hamas. We have all known about the tunnels for years. The government didn’t do enough to destroy them and protect us. The international community did very little to protest.
And now, we’ve paid -and continue to pay- the price.
I’ll say thank you for all the support; it really does mean the world to us.
But I’m feeling pretty bitter and cynical about the past – and our future. Because we cannot allow this to happen again, and, sadly, I think the government will fail us again.
I am also terrified that there will be a ceasefire, even for a day. We cannot stop this time until the land in Gaza is fully cultivated and ready for new life.
A real life.