State comptroller’s Operation Protective Edge report states IDF failed to complete its mission

According to the state comptroller report on Operation Protective Edge, major gaps in military intelligence and the failure to relay important information to the Israeli Security Cabinet members who made decisions throughout the operation resulted in the IDF failing to complete its mission in Gaza.
Hamas terror tunnel (archive) Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira’s report on Operation Protective Edge that was released this afternoon (Tuesday) revealed that the IDF was not appropriately prepared for the Hamas terror tunnel threat. Shapira rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s version of the series of events that led up to the operation and determined that while Netanyahu and then-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon knew about the threat, this information was not relayed to the Israeli Security Cabinet and the threat was not handled properly.

The report also revealed that Hamas still possesses active terror tunnels, confirming the statement made by a cabinet member earlier this week. In addition, the report claims that the IDF entered the operation without any clear strategies to eradicate the tunnel threat. Shapira’s report also criticized the cabinet for not functioning properly and its members for debating the goals of the operation while soldiers were fighting in Gaza. Israel’s state comptroller also stated in the report that some of the goals of operation were not achieved due to the major gaps in intelligence, lack of IDF preparations and the cabinet’s decision-making process.

“Out of the offensive tunnels that the IDF marked as a priority, it [the military] destroyed half of them and neutralized a few others,” wrote Shapira in the report. “The rest of the offensive tunnels were either just damaged or left in working condition.” Shapira concluded that because the main purpose of the operation was to destroy or neutralize the Hamas terror tunnels, the IDF did not complete its mission.

The cabinet during the operation Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90

The report also revealed that the Israeli security establishment was informed that Hamas is planning to kidnap Israelis or soldiers by using a tunnel prior to the operation. However, this intelligence was not clearly relayed to the cabinet members. According to the report, the possibility of a kidnapping was only mentioned during a cabinet discussion.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu was well aware of the tunnel threat, which he called a main and strategic threat, and held many discussions about it outside of the cabinet,” continued Shapira in the report. “He should have presented the cabinet with the tunnel threat in a detailed manner after he understood its seriousness.”

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