The decision was made Thursday morning at 10 a.m. The gates to Gaza were breached exactly 12 hours later. The IDF began taking over the Gaza Strip.
Thursday, at dawn, GSS head Yoram Cohen went from shul to the airport, where he took a flight to Cairo. He had a crucial meeting with the Egyptian mediators. In the next room sat Hamas officials. All the heads of Egyptian intelligence were there — who had invested a lot of effort in drafting the ceasefire proposal.
The GSS head called the prime minister and read him the Egyptian proposal and got his agreement to a ceasefire. Hamas continued with their discussions and, at 10:00, the Egyptian official went into their room, where he heard that Hamas was rejecting the proposal.
The Egyptians, furious now, summoned the Israeli representative and told him aloud, so that all could hear: “Go home and do what you think you need to do.”
That was the moment the decision was made, backed by Egypt. Four hours earlier, the terrorists had tried to conduct a mass terror attack, their most strategic one ever. In the morning, the humanitarian cease fire began, but that, too, was violated by the terrorists, and in the span of just a few hours, they fired a huge number of rockets into Israel.
At this point, it was clear that Israel would have to launch the war of no choice in the coming few hours. Hamas invited it upon itself. Israel did not want to go into the Strip. They waited and worked slowly. But the terror groups did not read the picture right and responded wildly. They tried to use a terror tunnel to kill and kidnap. The straws that broke the camel’s back were the infiltration attempt Thursday, the rejection of the Egyptian proposal and the violation of the humanitarian ceasefire.
Israel knows for a long time already that it has to destroy Hamas, to harm it in the most damaging way, and to put its hands on the operatives of the military wing, the ones who shoot the rockets and their equipment. And all this is not possible to do unless the IDF is in the Gaza Strip, on the ground. “Israel is launching a targeted effort on all fronts,” IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said Thursday night to the tens of thousands of fighters who have now begun their mission.
Let us daven that they succeed and return safely.