Jerusalem, March 1 (IANS) The Israeli government did not explore a diplomatic alternative to the military operation in Gaza in 2014, which could have been avoided, a report by Israel’s State Comptroller has revealed.
Joseph Shapira, commissioned to review governmental and administrative decisions of the state, included statements of the then Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, two days after the start of the offensive, to stress that ‘Operation Protective Edge’ could have been avoided if Israel dealt in time with the anguish of the people of Gaza, Xinhua news agency reported.
The 200-page document slammed the decisions taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior commanders in the army during the security cabinet meetings, which Shapira considered to be lacking in strategy.
The army’s lack of readiness to destroy the tunnels dug by Islamist movement Hamas which controls Gaza, was one of the errors detected by the report, although it was the operation’s main objective.
Shapira explained that only half the tunnels were destroyed and pointed out the failures in combat techniques or specific orders to carry out missions.
The defense minister did not address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, even though he was warned of his predictable contribution to escalating tensions, says the State Comptroller.
Netanyahu rejected the report’s content and insisted that the operation was carried out just in time, despite being accused in the report of not sharing sufficient information with members of the cabinet.
The operation lasted for 50 days, during which 2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 civilians.
On the other side of the conflict 73 Israelis were killed, including 67 soldiers, according to United Nations figures.