Netanyahu hails 2014 war on Hamas as ‘great success,’ despite critical report

The long-awaited State Comptroller’s report on Operation Protective Edge criticizes Netanyahu and the defense establishment for a lack of preparedness in responding to the threat from Hamas, but the Israeli leader and the IDF disagree. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected assertions in a report, published Tuesday by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira, that he and other senior officials neglected to take necessary preemptive and preparatory steps ahead of Operation Protective Edge, which was launched in the summer of 2014 against the Hamas terrorist organization controlling the Gaza Strip.

The prime minister said that he “supports the officers and fighters of the IDF following their great success during Operation Protective Edge,” Times of Israel reported. “The IDF] hit Hamas harder than it had ever been hit before, killing more than 1,000 terrorists and destroying thousands of rockets,” Netanyahu added, pointing to the “unprecedented quiet” at the border with Gaza since the operation ended.

However, bereaved family members of fallen soldiers in Operation Protective Edge seemed to have a much different outlook.

“We call for the full implementation of the report’s conclusions and call on those responsible for Operation Protective Edge to assume responsibility,” a representative said at the Knesset, where he was reading a joint letter on the behalf of the families, according to the Times.

“We demand that a political and military plan be presented for an overhaul to the procedures and priorities before the threat of the next war,” the letter stated.

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Operation Prevented ‘Mass-Casualty’ Tunnel Attack

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, was credited in the report for proposing a strike on the Hamas underground tunnel network.

“The tunnel destruction operation in Protective Edge prevented a strategic mass-casualty simultaneous attack from dozens of tunnels against the residents of Gaza vicinity and the country’s south. It is important to tell the bereaved families – your son’s death was not in vain,” Bennett said in response to the report.

“Quite a few errors were made that must be corrected,” he conceded. “We must not resist the lessons, but implement them responsibly and with determination”,

Former Defense Minister: Report is Political

Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon slammed the report as a political maneuver.

“The Protective Edge report has become a political statement,” he declared, as translated by Israel National News. “This report examines partial aspects of a complex battle. It ignores wider considerations, because is has fallen captive to special interest politicians who fed the Comptroller’s office tendentious information and polluted his investigative process.”

“The cabinet during Protective Edge was the worst and most irresponsible I have known,” he added. “It was a superficial cabinet, a political and populist cabinet of leaks, of speaking in two voices. The discussions were one big farce; if not for Netanyahu, the Chief of Staff, and I, it could have ended in disaster,” said the former Defense Minister.

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IDF Blasts Report

The IDF also criticized the report, claiming that it fulfilled the obligation to inform senior officials beforehand about Hamas’ underground tunnel network.

“The IDF presented the severity of the tunnel threat to those responsible, analyzed it and explained the operational significance,” said an IDF spokesperson. “Additionally, in the cabinet meetings, the IDF defined the tunnel threat as one of the five primary threats facing the State of Israel.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is encouraging all involved to glean lessons from the report instead of dismissing its conclusions.

“We must learn from these reports, and not disregard them, out of our supreme obligation to work for the benefit for the citizens of Israel,” he said, addressing the opening session of the Jewish People Policy Institute Tuesday evening at his residence. “We are all wiser with hindsight, and we should invest our efforts and energy in learning and implementing the findings.”

By: World Israel News Staff