update deskIsrael at War

Liberman warned Netanyahu of Hamas attack in 2016

The then-Defense Minister wrote of a scenario eerily similar to the horrors that unfolded on Oct. 7.

Then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Oct. 23, 2017. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
Then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Oct. 23, 2017. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.

A document drafted in 2016 by then-Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned of a Hamas attack similar to the horrors that unfolded on Oct. 7, excerpts published on Monday in the Yediot Ahronoth newspaper show.

The Yisrael Beitenu Party chairman, who decided not to join the current unity government, said in an interview on Saturday night with Channel 12 that the 12-page document was presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December of that year.

Labeled top-secret, it describes a mass terrorist attack launched from the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas intends to take the conflict into Israeli territory by sending a significant number of well-trained forces (like the Nukhba [commandos] for example) into Israel to try and capture an Israeli community (or maybe even several communities) on the Gaza border and take hostages,” Liberman wrote.

“Beyond the physical harm to the people, this will also lead to significant harm to the morale and feelings of the citizens of Israel.”

The document also states that “Hamas wants the next campaign against Israel to be multi-arena by building additional arenas for the Gaza Strip (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Sinai), and even against Jewish targets around the world.”

Liberman added that “in the next confrontation within the framework of the integrated multi-arena campaign, ‘Hamas outside’ [abroad] will play an active and significant part.”

The document also states that the Gaza security fence does not provide adequate protection for the residents near the Strip and that historical examples demonstrate that fences do not “prevent war and do not constitute a guarantee for peace and security.”

Liberman said that the document was not taken seriously at the time, with Netanyahu having to be persuaded to bring it up at a Cabinet meeting, where it was “waved away dismissively,” including by the security chiefs.

In a now-deleted tweet over the weekend for which Netanyahu has since apologized, the premier wrote that “at no point” had he been given a warning regarding the Hamas terror group’s “intention to start a war.”

Starting on Oct. 7, Hamas terrorists killed 1,400 people, wounded over 5,000 and took more than 200 back to Gaza as hostages.

According to the IDF, the families of 239 people have been notified that their loved ones are still being held in Gaza by Hamas. The terrorists have freed four women.

The Israeli Health Ministry reported that as of Oct. 25, 267 victims of the massacre remained hospitalized.

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