Wednesday, April 19, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a meeting of the Knesset’s state control. The Commission met to discuss the report of the auditor General about the events of operation protective edge, in particular on the decision-making process of the military-political Cabinet.
For more than three hours Netanyahu was answering questions of MPs from the opposition and the replica of the relatives of soldiers killed during operations in Gaza in 2014. The Prime Minister noted that after surgery, changes were made to the modus operandi of military-political Cabinet, and that, as to inform the Ministers. At the same time, the Prime Minister said: «Sometimes the attempt to create a more efficient system leads to the fact that the system completely stops functioning. The decision-making processes are evaluated according to the quality of decisions, and decisions that were taken by us during the period of the operation «Indestructible rock» has led to the fact that Hamas has not achieved any of the goals it sets itself. Moreover, Hamas was forced to ask for a ceasefire, as it was not able to withstand the ongoing pressure from Israel.»
The Prime Minister stressed that the problem of the tunnels was known, and the decision that was made during the «Unbreakable rock» on a limited ground operations to neutralize the threat, made on the basis of serious and thorough discussions. «We have had a few opportunities, not every of which you can read here — said the head of government. The adoption of the decision on the entry of ground forces to the line of the tunnels and neutralize the threat and immediate withdrawal. This operation lasted longer than we expected, but the results were achieved».
Netanyahu also rejected accusations of lack of strategy in relation to the Gaza strip. «Our strategy is that we need to have enough power to create an effective deterrent in Gaza, or, if the decision is made to re-occupy the sector. In the case of occupation raises many questions, chief among them: to whom to transfer power in the sector.»
The Prime Minister said that the government takes into account the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza strip. «Up to «Indestructible rock» in the sector drove about 250 daily truckloads of goods. After the operation the number of trucks increased to 1000, but the problem is that 70% of what is done in Gaza and what goes to Hamas seizes and aims at strengthening its military power. Therefore, in recent years the number of trucks decreased to 600″.
The head of government also touched on the issue of the return of bodies of fallen soldiers Hadar Godin and Oron Shaul. «We are working actively in this direction, but today I have unfortunately not good news,» said the head of government.
The opposition MPs sharply criticized Netanyahu. Knesset member ofer Shelah («Yesh Atid») called the Prime Minister «the smoke screen». Shelah said: «Your statement is an attempt to hide the obvious fact that nearly three years that have passed since the operation, nothing has changed. The Board of Amidror more than six months ago has completed the preparation of proposals for the reform of the military-political Cabinet, but you don’t have time for a two-hour meeting, which was enough to agree on the implementation of the conclusions of the Commission».
Deputies Michal Rozin and zaava galon (MERETZ) demanded that Netanyahu answer to the question, what steps he is taking to avoid a new confrontation in Gaza. «In Gaza there are no prospects of a political settlement, because in the sector there are 30.000 armed fighters belonging to the organization, whose goal is the destruction of Israel,» said Netanyahu. The Prime Minister added: «In Gaza there is a constant dilemma between the overthrow of the local authorities and the continuation of the current situation while maintaining an effective deterrent».
The meeting broke out constant verbal sparring between MPs David Bitanem, Miki Zohar and Yoav Kish (Likud) and opposition representatives, as well as relatives of the fallen soldiers. «We paid the highest price in this war, and you are unable to restore order in his office. Shame on you,» screamed Ilan Saga, the father of Sagi Erez, who was killed during the operation. Ilan Saga also accused the head of a coalition government of David Bitana that during one of the demonstrations Bitan said to him: «You nothing can help, no investigation will not.» Bitan shouted back: «You’re lying. I never saw you say that. You are a liar».
Recall that the sections of the report of the auditor General relating to the activities of the military-political Cabinet during operation protective edge, was published on 28 February. The state Comptroller criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu and former defense Minister ya’alon. The report stated that the Cabinet had at its disposal the information necessary to make effective decisions. The auditor General has indicated that there has been discussion of strategic questions concerning relations with the Gaza strip, and was not given sufficient attention to the issue of the tunnels that led from Gaza to Israel.
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