On December 1, 2023, the story on the upper right side of the front page of the physical copy of the New York Times is headlined “Israelis Saw Plan for Hamas Attack Over a Year Ago,” and is by-lined to Ronen Bergman and Adam Goldman.
The story begins, “Israeli officials obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack more than a year before it happened, documents, emails and interviews show. But Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed this plan as aspirational, considering it too difficult for Hamas to carry out.
It continues: “The approximately 40-page document, which the Israeli officials codenamed ‘Jericho Wall,’ outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.
“Hamas followed the blueprint with shocking precision. The document called for a barrage of rockets at the outset of the attack, drones to knock out the security cameras and automated machine guns along the border, and gunmen to pour into Israel en masse in paragliders, motorcycles and on foot—all of which happened on Oct. 7.
“The plan also included details about the location and size of Israel’s military forces, communications hubs and other sensitive information, raising questions about how Hamas gathered its intelligence and whether there were leaks inside the Israeli security establishment.”
Obviously, there is a terribly damaging and devastating report to the Israeli state, somehow getting through the Times’ efforts to downplay the death and destruction inflicted on Gaza by the Israeli military. It has been obvious to this observer that the Times’ recent coverage—and especially the lack of photographs of Gaza today—has been far below its own standards of covering most conflicts (at least other than Ukraine). “Important” stories such as covering elite Western US fire-fighting teams—in late November, far from fire season?—have been given front page coverage recently, along with extensive photographic evidence inside. No, the editors have chosen to downplay Israeli death and destruction in Gaza.
And yet, somehow, this report of the humongous Israeli intelligence failure made it to the front page of the physical copy of the paper.
In any case, that it appeared, nonetheless, it was a damaging rebuke to the Israeli intelligence system—so long overplayed as “all-but-perfect”—and the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu.
Again, from the Times’ report: “Israeli security officials have already acknowledged that they failed to protect the country, and the government is expected to assemble a commission to study the events leading to the attacks. The Jericho Wall document lays bare a yearslong cascade of missteps that culminated in what officials now regard as the worst Israeli intelligence attack that led to the Arab-Israeli war of 1973.”
I personally think this is a stunning rebuke also to the US Government, which has slavishly protected Irael’s activities from the world community.
In any case, this article is stunning news, and is the type that makes journalists’ careers and often leads to Pulitzer Prizes. I was sure the Times would want to circulate this report—once they decided to cover it—all over social media, etc.
Yet, when I went to the Times’ web site, somehow, this story did not appear. It seems that the death of retired Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, was much more important a news item than this incredible Israeli intelligence failure.
“All the News That’s Fit to Print” my ass! Soon, they’ll probably claim “Fair and Balanced” as their next slogan regarding the Middle East.
Kim Scipes, PhD, is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Purdue University Northwest in Westville, Indiana. A global labor scholar, he has published four books, and over 260 articles and book reviews in peer-reviewed and specialty journals, general interest magazines, and local newspapers in the US and 11 other countries. His publications are on-line at https://www.pnw.edu/faculty/kim-scipes-ph-d/publications/.