חשיפה: המידע שנאסר לפרסום בישראל, מתוך סרטון הווידאו של חמאס על המבצע הכושל בעזה
Hamas released a six-minute video filled with operational details of November’s failed IDF commando raid which resulted in the death of Sayeret Matkal commander, Lt. Col. Mahmoud Kheireddine, Hamas commander Nour Baraka, and nearly twenty other militants under the latter’s command. For the first time in the history of IDF invasions of Gaza, Hamas has captured the images of all the Israeli attackers, their vehicles, and the surveillance equipment they attempted to install inside the enclave. It has turned out to be an intelligence coup as the militant group appears also to have captured a trove of Israeli secrets, including the names of scores of Gazans who were recruited by the Shin Bet as spies. It’s possible that the 45 local residents arrested by Hamas constituted a significant portion of the agents the spy agency was “running” in Gaza. As such, this would constitute a severe blow to Israeli intelligence.
Besides all this, now we know the first names (or code names) of a number of the Israeli soldiers (apparently they left behind evidence that identified them, or Hamas was itself able to listen to their communications while they were inside Gaza). Among those names are Miti (Kheireddine), Viki, Lior, Dushnik, Yoni, Aviv and Amnon. The video also pictures a wide array of equipment the Israelis were using (though it doesn’t display any surveillance gear, some of which the Israelis succeeded in destroying after they rescued their forces). Hamas has also offered a $1-million reward for the identification of the members of the commando squad. Though this may be a theatrical gesture not meant to be taken seriously, it is part of a psychological campaign in which the militant group is declaring its capacity to take the battle back to Israel itself, instead of always being the victim.
The army is conducting an investigation of the incident. It’s likely no accident that it will be presented almost immediately before the current chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, steps down from his job. The results will likely not be flattering to him or his command. In fact, Eisenkot has admitted the obvious, that serious mistakes were made. Just what they were, we may never find out since the Wall of Secrecy often obscures such disastrous security failures in order to protect the army’s reputation and budget.
Israel HaYom’s army correspondent wrote in yesterday’s edition that while Eisenkot declared there was no major blunder, there were a series of “mistakes:”
Hamas has in its hands even more material which has the potential of causing severe harm to Israeli security, in Gaza and on other fronts…
From the intelligence data a different picture emerges [than the one portrayed by Eisenkot], which raises far-reaching questions regarding the operation, its approval, the actions of the force; and questions of basic changes in the operation of the unit and the chain of command. Some of these may have contributed to the failure of the operation.
The operational investigation…will certainly lead to a number of professional conclusions, perhaps even personal ones [i.e. regarding failures by specific personnel].
As with earlier reporting on this incident, the Israeli military censor prohibited the media from reporting on much of what Hamas revealed. This led either directly or indirectly to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook adopting the position of the Israeli censor and applying these standards to their own users. I hope this shameful abdication of responsibility won’t happen with this new information.