Political analysts were likely no less surprised. I’m certainly one of them, having looked on in amazement ever since the reemergence of Hamas violence in early 2018 after three and a half years of quiet. Why did the Israeli government, with Benjamin Netanyahu firmly at its helm, tolerate renewed Hamas missile strikes, then missiles and incendiary balloons, then missiles and incendiary balloons and rioting along the fence dividing Hamas- controlled Gaza and Israel?
This is to say nothing of the high-profile visits of the Qatari special envoy, who brought suitcases full of millions of dollar bills to be placed in Hamas coffers—either directly or indirectly with Israel’s permission.
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The mystery was solved on the fourth night of the offensive, when the Israeli Air Force made aviation history by amassing, over the small space of Gaza, 160 fighter jets and other air vehicles to pound and destroy—over a mere 40 minutes—the “Hamas Metro”: a vast array of interlocking tunnels Hamas had dug to protect its command posts, ease the movement of its terrorists, and enable the transport of its missiles and other ordnance.
What Netanyahu and the IDF did unto Hezbollah on a much smaller scale two years ago they repeated successfully on a far larger scale against Hamas. Israel, having discovered and then meticulously monitored Hezbollah tunneling activities across the northern border, waited for the expensive tunnels to be dug and then destroyed them just as they were about to be completed. It was Hamas’s turn to be similarly duped.