THE MYSTERIES OF OCTOBER 7
As Hamas releases hostages and Israel continues to bomb Gaza, many questions remain unanswered
A decade ago, while on a trip to the Middle East, my wife and I were sharing a pizza dinner in a Jerusalem hotel with an American journalist and a photographer who had just returned from a reporting visit to Gaza City. An anchorman for one of America’s television networks and his wife joined us. The journalist and photographer chatted at some point in Arabic with our waiter and that chatter prompted a middle-aged gentleman in a suit and tie who was dining alone to approach our table and ask if he could join. He explained that he was a US Army intelligence officer, a colonel, assigned to the American consulate in Jerusalem and his mission was to report on Gaza. The only problem, he said, was that he was not allowed to actually travel to Gaza and so when he overheard the journalists talking about their visit there, he wanted to know more.
We invited him to join, and the colonel got what was in effect a briefing on the deprivation and despair that the reporters had found.
Gaza and Hamas—the Islamist group that has led the territory since 2007—remain murky, confounding subjects today. Why did Hamas stage an early morning raid on October 7 in what turned out to be a series of unguarded kibbutzim in Israel south? Why were only a few Israelis Israeli soldiers on duty that morning?