I have wondered about the purposes and plans involving the Gaza tunnels - and their growing significance for both Hamas and Israel. And then I got an e-mail with weblinks that seemed to clarify much - especially why they now are an important part of cease fire negotiations (see last few sentences of paragraph below).
"Israeli Hebrew - and English - language media outlets reported early Friday that Hamas's offensive tunnel network - which is now known to have been composed of over two dozen attack tunnels dug underneath Israel's border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip - was set to be activated during the Jewish High Holidays in the form of a mass terror attack. Israeli security sources, citing information acquired in interrogations of captured Hamas fighters, described a scenario under which hundreds of heavily armed Hamas fighters would have spilled out into Israel in the dead of night and within 10 minutes have been in a position to infiltrate several sparsely populated and lightly guarded Israeli communities. Palestinian terrorists would then - per an assessment conveyed by i24news - have sought to "kill and kidnap as many Israelis as they could." Details of plot, which were first published by the Hebrew-language Ma'ariv, described it as set to take place when Israelis would have been celebrating the Jewish New Year, on or around September 24. Observers noted that attack scenarios lined up with recently revealed data about the scope and nature of the offensive tunnel network. The IDF recently published a map showing that the tunnels were created to empty out on both sides of nearby communities. Israeli military officials had already reported that the tunnel entrances are stocked with tranquilizers, handcuffs, ropes, and other materials useful for subduing abducted civilians and soldiers. And the known cost of the infrastructure - with each tunnel costing roughly $1 million - implies that Hamas leaders were planning a coordinated mega-attack, since use of even one of the tunnels was likely to trigger an Israeli retaliation against the entire network. Revelations regarding the magnitude of the planned tunnel attack are thought to have played a critical role in the Israeli government's rejection of a ceasefire proposed late Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry, which would have prohibited the Israelis from degrading remaining attack tunnels."
Here is the websource which also provides the links: