(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended himself from an impending state comptroller's report that is set to be released Tuesday, telling his Likud faction Monday that his security cabinet was briefed sufficiently ahead of Operation Protective Edge.
The report is expected to criticize Netanyahu's handling of the security cabinet ahead of and during the 2014 operation in Gaza, especially regarding the issue of terror tunnels dug by Hamas.
"No security cabinet in the history of the state has been updated more," Netanyahu said. "When entering the security cabinet, one is supposed to leave his cellular phone and his narrow, personal political interests outside."
Netanyahu accused State Comptroller Joseph Shapira of being too harsh on the IDF and intelligence agecies in the report.
"Unlike the comptroller's repoirt, I support the heads of the IDF, Shin-Bet and defense establishment who protected and continue to protect the citizens of Israel. Our soldiers and officers fought with all their souls and the people of Israel are proud of them."
Netanyahu boasted that in the operation "we gave Hamas the harshest blow it has endured in its history." He said the operation's key lessons were not in the report and were being implemented quietly and consistently.
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said the comptroller would convict the prime minister in the report for poor strategic handling of the country and decision-making during the operation. He said Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid could also not avoid blame, because he was a member of the security cabinet during the operation and did not have enough of an influence.
Lapid said he would not call upon Netanyahu to quit due to the mistakes he made during and since the operation but he expected him to take action to correct them.
"The IDF did the right thing in starting to fix its mistakes the day after the war, but the prime minister has done the opposite," Lapid said. "Mistakes happen. What bothers me is that there are political spins. This is not how a country is run. If a single soldier can be saved in the next war, the government has an obligation to take action. The prime minister must go before the public, say he made mistakes, and start fixing them."
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