A gunman from the Izz ad-Din al- Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, photographed inside an underground tunnel in Gaza, in 2014..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The State Comptroller’s Report on cabinet decisions and Hamas tunnels concerning 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, whose release Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been fighting for nearly nine months, will be published on Tuesday.
A related report by Comptroller Joseph Shapira’s office on whether Israel complied with international law during the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be released at a later date.
Despite a last ditch battle by Netanyahu to keep the report classified, the Knesset State Control Committee’s classified subcommittee in late January cleared the way for the report to be published after certain targeted elements were censored.
According to pundits, the report is expected to be a political bombshell for Netanyahu in terms of his reputation as “Mr. Security,” with possible consequences ranging from eventually bringing down the government to being another shot against his standing as rivals wait for a moment to strike.
Netanyahu’s biggest and recent critics regarding the report have been Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, but at earlier stages Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman and former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar have also slammed the prime minister.
According to leaked portions of the report, the comptroller first criticizes Netanyahu; Moshe Ya’alon, who was defense minister from 2013 to 2016; and former Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, who IDF chief of staff from 2011 to 2015, for failing to warn the security cabinet about intelligence they had from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) about the possibility of war with Hamas prior to the start of the conflict.
The leaked report says that the trio passed on the Shin Bet’s warnings only once the country was at war.
In transcripts of security cabinet meetings held at the start of Operation Protective Edge and published by Yediot Aharonot
, then-chief of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi told the ministers that there were overwhelming indications that Hamas was not prepared to go to war.