Yaalon Answers Critics of Gaza War

YERUSHALAYIM -

In response to the criticism he has faced recently in the wake of the state comptroller’s report on his role in Operation Protective Edge, former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Wednesday that “it is a good thing we weren’t dragged along after the destructive and dangerous populism of some members of the Cabinet, who played politics during the military campaign; and continue to do so today.

“Fortunately, the wheel was in the hands of Netanyahu [then IDF chief of staff Benny], Ganz and myself.”

In the light of the ongoing investigations into alleged wrongdoing by the prime minister, it may be that Yaalon’s return to politics will be sooner than had been thought.

“There are those for whom it is important to show that we lost, that Israel was humiliated, that the IDF was humiliated, and that they are the heroes.

“I am proud of what we achieved in Operation Protective Edge, and the results speak for themselves,” Yaalon said on Wednesday at the Center for National Security Studies in the University of Haifa.

“The rocket attacks from Gaza were countered with minimal damage. The terror attacks plotted by Hamas — in the air, from the sea, and through the tunnels — were thwarted.

“The ceasefire was arranged on our terms, without any gain for Hamas. The rocket attacks ended; the tunnels were badly hit. Hamas came out of the war weakened, and the residents of southern Israel are enjoying unprecedented quiet for the last two and a half years. You have to look at the overall picture, and not just the tunnels.”

Yaalon also rejected the charge that ministers were not updated about the Hamas tunnels. He insisted that they were given all the available documents and ample time to study them before Cabinet meetings.

After complaints were heard that ministers were not adequately briefed, Yaalon said he ordered special seminar days to familiarize the ministers with the military situation. However, they were cancelled after so few were interested enough to attend.
The handling of Operation Protective Edge “was an example of responsible and carefully considered leadership. Now, I see politicians who have no redlines, leaks from the cabinet minutes — a tactic to obtain a few more likes on [social media]. Whoever does this is not fit to be a leader. Leadership speaks and decides what is right, not what is popular in the moment,” declared the former defense minister.