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Hamas, Terror Tunnels and Timing?

In connection with the discovery that the Hamas terrorists of Gaza had dug an elaborate network of attack tunnels into Israel, a number of Israeli news outlets have been reporting that the date set by Hamas for a major attack was Rosh Hashanah -- the beginning of the Jewish New Year, which this year falls on Sept. 24. If true, that date is intriguing for reasons extending beyond the Jewish New Year.

The reports of a plot timed to coincide with Rosh Hashanah are unverified, anonymously sourced to Israeli security services, and most seem to track back to a dispatch by  Israel's Hebrew-language Maariv Daily.  Let's treat that date and the reports of a Rosh Hashanah plot with caution, pending clear confirmation. But the extensive tunnel network certainly does suggest something major was in the works. And veteran defense correspondent Bill Gertz, who has a record of being well-sourced and well-informed on such matters, ran with the Sept. 24 date in a recent report that  "information that Israeli Defense Forces reportedly obtained from captured Hamas fighters revealed that the group was planning to use several Gaza tunnels that extend under Israeli territory for a major attack timed with the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, on Sept. 24."

What significant event, other than Rosh Hashanah, falls this year on Sept. 24?

That would be the opening in New York of the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly, scheduled this year to run from Sept. 24-Oct.1. It's less a debate than a drumroll of speeches by presidents and prime ministers, but we all know the scene. Officially, the General Assembly opening jamboree starts earlier in the month (this year, on Sept. 16). But the big show, the main drama, is the General Debate. Heads of state from around the globe converge on the UN headquarters, bringing gridlocked chaos to midtown Manhattan. The first morning routinely features the UN secretary-general and the U.S. president. Other speakers get shuffled around, but last year, the opening day of the debate also included Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, an official face of the Tehran regime that has been supplying Hamas with terrorist training and weapons.

As far as I am aware, the speaking lineup for this year's General Debate has not yet been released. But let's recall that when the opening of the General Debate in 2012 fell on another Jewish holy day, Yom Kippur, it was cause for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to skip the opening day of speeches, and arrive later in the week. What might be his plans this year to cope with the UN kicking off the General Debate on Rosh Hashanah, I have not yet seen. But there is at least some likelihood that he would come after the opening day.