Tuesday September 28, 2021

Israel braces for Gaza war report

February 28, 2017

OCCUPIED-ALQUDS: Israeli politicians and ex-generals are scambling for cover ahead of the publication on Tuesday of a report expected to slam their conduct of the costly 2014 Gaza war.

The findings of a two-year inquiry, due to be released at 1400 GMT, are widely expected to inflict collateral damage on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then-defence minister Moshe Yaalon and former army chief of staff Benny Gantz for failing to prepare for the threat posed by Hamas tunnels from Gaza, despite intelligence warnings.

Players past and present have been frantically "briefing reporters, providing leaks, and besmirching their opponents, some directly and some obliquely", as Maariv daily put it on Monday.

"Those who played politics in the security cabinet in an unprecedented way during the war will continue to do so this week," Yaalon wrote in Hebrew on his Facebook page.

The report -- 200 pages including annexes -- was compiled by state comptroller Yossef Shapira, who is in charge of assessing governance and use of public funds.

He launched his probe in September 2014, immediately after the July-August conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group which controls the Gaza Strip.

Fallout from the report is likely to pit Netanyahu against his coalition partner and political rival Naftali Bennett, head of the nationalist Jewish Home party.

Bennett has said he and fellow members of the security cabinet were not properly briefed by Netanyahu on the extent of the tunnel threat and he therefore used his own personal military contacts to get information.

He later boasted that he had been the first political leader to grasp the extent of the threat.

Also weighing in is Yair Lapid, a centrist fired as finance minister in Netanyahu’s previous government who sat in the 2014 security cabinet but is now a bitter foe of both Bennett and the premier.