A Palestinian tunnel in Gaza. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Heavy criticism has been directed against the political and security establishments regarding the IDF being unprepared for the scope of the Hamas tunnel threat during last year's Operation Protective Edge.
On Saturday, former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, who is also the number two candidate for the Knesset on the Koolanu list, added his own harsh critique of the government, accusing it of knowing about the threat prior to the war and allowing it to continue.
Galant said that the attack tunnel threat began many years before last summer's war, and that during his tenure that coincided with Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, ninety-two tunnels were destroyed.
Posing a rhetorical question, Galant asked if it was, "possible that the state of Israel knew that the tunnels from Gaza led into nurseries in Israeli villages near the border, did nothing about them and even covered up their existence?"
"It cannot be that they did not prepare a plan to deal with the threat and at the same time say they did not know about it," he said at a cultural event in Holon.
Galant said the IDF fighters and the military command knows how to carry out the mission of neutralizing the tunnels but the Minister of Defense [Moshe Ya'alon] and the government, "did not allow them to execute the mission."
The Knesset candidate also took aim at the idea that the 2014 Gaza war was generally a success for Israel.
"An operation is successful if there are low casualties without spending a lot of resources, and it is short and quality objectives are achieved. Operation Protective Edge does not answer any of these criteria," Galant said at a cultural event in Holon.
"It is unacceptable to me that we sit on equal footing with Hamas at the end of a military operation," he added.
As early as 2007 the State Comptroller warned
about the tunnels stating that the entire defense establishment had been part of an “ongoing failure” regarding the threat.
The 2007 report recommended numerous urgent changes, “in light of the flawed handling of the threat in the following three areas: the conceptual foundation for addressing the issue, technological efforts and intelligence handling of the threat, each of them individually and collectively.”
At the start of Operation Protective Edge in July, the IDF and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office said that the purpose of the operation was to destroy terror tunnels and seriously harm the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza.