The final draft of a much-anticipated State Comptroller report into Operation Protective Edge in 2014 is sharply critical of both the Prime Minister and former Defence Minister, according to Israeli media reports.
The latest draft was shared with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then-Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and several other relevant senior figures for their review ahead of publication.
Several media sources, including Channel Two and Haaretz, claim that those who have seen the latest report say it accuses Netanyahu and Ya’alon of failing to adequately share intelligence on the threat from Hamas tunnels with the security cabinet. It also suggests that they failed to make operational plans to combat the threat.
A previous leaked draft of the report mainly criticised then-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, at the time head of Military Intelligence. The focus appears to have shifted to the political leadership at the time.
During the past several months Prime Minister Netanyahu has held a series of lengthy briefings with journalists to present his version of events. He also recently requested an additional meeting with State Comptroller Yosef Shapira, to provide information on how information was shred with other decision-makers.
Some leading politicians, including Jewish Home leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett have claimed that the security cabinet did not adequately discuss the tunnels at the time. Netanyahu has strongly rejected the allegation. The latest draft of Shapira’s report is expected to largely concur with Bennett’s assessment and may even praise him for raising the issue ahead of Operation Protective Edge.
More than 30 tunnels, some extending beyond the Gaza border, were uncovered and destroyed by Israeli forces during the month-long conflict. Hamas has since set about rebuilding the subterranean network, while Israel recently began constructing an underground barrier to combat the threat.