OPPOSITION KNESSET REPRESENTATIVE HAIM JELIN (Yesh Atid) accused the Netanyahu government of failing to stop the Hamas threat from regrowing since the 2014 Gaza war.
Jelin said the number of tunnels leading into Israel and Hamas’ rocket arsenal are already at the levels they were at two and half years ago before the summer 2014 IDF operations in Gaza that led to the destruction of dozens of tunnels and Hamas’ weapons caches.
Jelin’s warning joins two government minsters, Yuval Steinitz and Yoav Galant, who said a confrontation with Hamas is innocent.
Jelin said the government had also failed to stop a detente between Hamas and Iran, giving no further details.
The comments by Jelin, a former regional leader in the Gaza-border communities, came on the backdrop of the State Comptroller’s report into the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, which was publicly released today.
The chairman of Jelin’s Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, was a part of the Netanyahu coalition at the time as finance minister. Lapid has since been critical of Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s handling of the war.
The State Comptroller report criticized IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the prime and defense ministers of failing to prepare the Israel Defense Forces for the war. The report said Netanyahu and defense officials concealed information from other cabinet ministers. And it claimed that only half of Hamas’ underground tunnel system was destroyed, although that was one of the core missions of the IDF ground operation.
A LETTER BY BEREAVED PARENTS OF THE 2014 Gaza war accused the Netnayahu government of prematurely announcing the death of Oron Shaul, whose body was taken for ransom by Hamas militants.
Israel initially declared Shaul missing for several days before determining his death. Hamas tried to use Shaul’s body as a bargaining chip for Palestinian prisoners.
MINISTER YUVAL STEINITZ said he had been “skeptical” about the Israel Defense Forces ground invasion of the Gaza Strip during the 2014 war. The ground invasion followed some weeks of aerial barrages.
“I’m not saying I was right; I understand the other position,” he told the IDF radio station today.
“There’s a heavy price to be paid [he used this phrase in a 2014 interview with the BBC] for Israel’s independence and to protect the State of Israel,” Steinitz said, referring to the dozens of soldiers who died in the ground invasion.
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU REJECTED the State Comptroller’s findings that information was hidden from cabinet minister during Operation Protective Edge.
The report alleges that the prime minister, along with defense officials, concealed information during Operation Protective Edge from other cabinet ministers.