There minutes from the security cabinet meeting that decided to agree to a cease-fire ending Operation Protective Edge in 2014 have been published by Israel Hayom. In retrospect the decision may have led to the death of three IDF soldiers on the Gaza border, when Hamas terrorists took advantage of the lull to attack Israeli forces.
On Tuesday, Israel Hayom published portions of the meeting in which the majority of the security cabinet voted to accept a cease-fire with Hamas, who shot a barrage of rockets into Israeli population centers over the course of three weeks that summer. Israel halted its retaliatory attacks, but one hour after the cease-fire went into effect, Hamas forces infiltrated into Israeli territory through tunnels from Gaza killing three elite Givati IDF solders: Major Benaya Sarel from Kiryat Arba, Sergeant Liel Gidoni from Jerusalem and Lt. Hadar Goldin from Kfar Saba. Goldin's body is still being held by Hamas.
The 72-hour humanitarian truce was proposed by then US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Known as "Black Friday" in the Hebrew press, transcript from the stormy Friday July 27th cabinet meeting were revealed in the Israel Hayom, Israel's largest circulation daily paper.
According to the report, then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and then-Chief of Staff Benny Gantz presented the ministers with the risks that might arise as a result of the cease-fire. The following is Israel Hayom's partial publication of the transcript:
Gantz: "In general, every day of a humanitarian truce, at least for a day or two, creates a situation in which the forces must deal more and more tunnels."
Then-Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett: "What are the drawbacks of a truce?
Ya'alon: "Robert Serry (UN representative to the Middle East) supports the truce."
Bennett: "I asked about the shortcomings of a humanitarian truce."
Ya'alon: "I see this situation [of the truce] only as a benefit. If someone here wants to conquer Gaza, let's have a discussion."
Bennett: "I am surprised by this answer... you're wrong, there are prices [to a cease-fire]."
Bennett's position was joined by Yisrael Beiteinu ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who voted against the cease-fire. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ya'alon and all the other cabinet ministers voted in favor. The decision was approved.
After the incident in which the soldiers were killed, the cabinet met again. According to the protocols received by Israel Hayom, Minister Gilad Erdan asked Gantz: "Wait a minute, the soldiers were forbidden to open fire in advance at the stage of progress?"
Gantz: "They were allowed to return fire when they were shot at, and when there was no enemy, it was indeed forbidden to shoot preventively. Erdan said that if he had known that Givati soldiers were forbidden to fire, he would not have voted for a cease-fire.
Gantz and Ya'alon are now running for Knesset in the April 9 elections as leaders of the Blue and White party, rivaling Netanyahu's Likud in the polls. Blue and White said in response to the report that it was a political manipulation meant to tarnish the reputations of the former generals. "Leaks of protocols from cabinet discussions and their manipulative use in an election campaign show irresponsibility," the party stated.