A bombshell report by the New York Times claims that Israeli officials had a detailed, approximately 40-page document outlining “point by point” the plans for a Hamas attack on Israeli soil, but dismissed the plan as aspirational and beyond the group’s capacities.
The document, which authorities codenamed “Jericho Wall,” is reported to have outlined “a methodical assault” in which drones would attack Israel’s surveillance system as terrorists entered the country on foot and using paragliders and motorcycles under the cover of a barrage of rockets.
The document is also said to have included the locations and sizes of IDF forces in the area, and specifically stated as an objective to overwhelm the military base in Re’im, the site of the nature party on October 7 that was targeted early in the attack. At the top of the document was a quotation from the Qur’an: “Surprise them through the gate. If you do, you will certainly prevail.”
The plans “circulated widely among Israeli military and intelligence leaders,” the report says. The IDF’s Gaza division wrote an assessment of it, reporting plans for “a new raid, unprecedented in its scope,” but concluding that the plans were a “compass,” detailing Hamas’s ambitions for the future, rather than an immediate plan of action.
Colonel called the plans “totally imaginative,” said to “wait patiently”
Then, in July 2023, the IDF’s signal intelligence division, Unit 8200, reported that Hamas had been spotted conducting training exercises that mirrored the blueprint in “Jericho Wall,” including exercises to simulate shooting down Israeli airplanes, occupying a kibbutz, and overrunning a military base.
During the exercise, Hamas terrorists used the same quotation from the Quran that appeared at the top of the “Jericho Wall” document. The Unit 8200 analyst who wrote the report warned that Hamas was building the capacity to put the plan into action, and that the exercises Hamas was engaged in closely reflected what was outlined in the document.
The colonel who received the report apparently called the exercise “totally imaginative,” saying, “in short, let’s wait patiently.”
An internal debate followed, with others endorsing the analyst’s warning. One even invoked the example of the Yom Kippur War, writing “We already underwent a similar experience 50 years ago on the southern front in connection with a scenario that seemed imaginary, and history may repeat itself if we are not careful.”
That comparison has been ubiquitous in Israel since the first moments of the attack.
A previous warning, also unheeded
“Jericho Wall” was not the first intelligence that had prompted such a debate, the Times reports. In September 2016, the Ministry of Defense prepared a top-secret memo, signed by then-defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, warning of an invasion and hostage-taking operation by Hamas.
The memo outlined Hamas’s purchases of drones, GPS jammers, and other sophisticated weaponry. It also reported that Hamas had swelled its fighting force by 6,000 men in two years, and aimed to grow it from 27,000 to 40,000 by 2020.