In a harrowing turn of events, the brutal massacre orchestrated by Hamas on October 7 had been foreshadowed by several months of overlooked warning signs reported by IDF surveillance soldiers. These soldiers, stationed at Nahal Oz, a base just one kilometer away from the tumultuous Gaza border, diligently documented unusual activities indicating potential threats. Shockingly, their reports were dismissed as insignificant by intelligence officials, leading to a catastrophic outcome.
The surveillance soldiers, known as tatzpitaniyot in Hebrew, are a part of the Combat Intelligence Corps responsible for real-time intelligence gathering along Israel’s borders, including the volatile Gaza border. Equipped with various cameras, sensors, and maps, these soldiers meticulously monitor a 15-30 kilometer stretch of land, aiming to provide critical information to soldiers in the field round the clock.
Several months before the tragic attack, soldiers Yael Rotenberg and Maya Desiatnik observed alarming activities near the border. They reported multiple incidents of Hamas operatives engaging in training sessions, digging holes, and planting explosives along the border. Astonishingly, these reports were met with indifference from those in charge. Rotenberg recalled witnessing Palestinians, dressed as civilians, inspecting the border fence with maps, seemingly preparing for something ominous. However, her alerts were dismissed as mere farmers going about their business.
Desiatnik, on duty during these times, witnessed the escalation firsthand. Hamas terrorists intensified their training activities, transitioning from occasional sessions to near-constant preparations. They practiced various tactics, including driving tanks and infiltrating Israel through tunnels. Despite this clear escalation, the intelligence officials failed to recognize the imminent danger.
Former tatzpitaniyot, Amit Yerushalmi, and Noa Melman, corroborated these accounts. Yerushalmi, who completed her service just a month before the attack, had observed the increased activity on the Gaza border. She described seeing numerous training sessions, patrols, and even explosions disturbingly close to the fence. Melman, who finished her service nine months prior, recalled the setup of a mock border fence by Hamas, a chilling indication of their intentions.
Disturbingly, despite these consistent and alarming reports, no decisive action was taken. Video footage, captured by Channel 12, revealed a convoy of white pickup trucks, frequently used by Hamas, patrolling near the border. While some argued that this was common activity, the soldiers insist that this specific patrol differed significantly, although the exact reasons were not detailed.
Tragically, the IDF’s failure to heed these warnings led to the devastating events of October 7. The survivors, haunted by the knowledge that their alerts went unheeded, now question the very essence of their mission. Their pleas for help fell on deaf ears, leaving them unprotected and vulnerable in the face of an entirely preventable tragedy.