Knesset Allows Release of Explosive Gaza War Report

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (C) arrives at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool)

The Knesset decided on Sunday to allow publication of the potentially explosive State Comptroller’s report on the government’s handling of war in Gaza in 2014.

A subcommittee of the Knesset Control Committee made the decision, which will give the public a rare opportunity to look in discussions of the security cabinet, except for a small portion which will remain classified. Publication is expected in the next two weeks.

Recent leaks concerning the contents of the report described a cabinet bitterly divided over war policy, and is said to contradict Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s claim that ministers were fully informed at the time of the Hamas tunnel threat, and confirm Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett’s contention that they were not.

Coalition officials, particularly those close to Netanyahu, fought against releasing the report.

By contrast, Bennett told a meeting of his Jewish Home party last week that “we must not suppress the report on Protective Edge or use it to see heads roll,” but rather learn from it.

“Only the disclosure of the non-confidential elements and the study of its particulars will allow us to move forward,” he said. “I was there; we can do better.”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid accused Netanyahu of seeking to bury the report because it documents his mishandling of the war.

“The Prime Minister’s Office fears this report, because serious failures emerge from it,” he said. “Because the report reveals that the account the public received [on the war] was not the true account.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also demanded release of the report: “The Israeli public, and especially families who lost loved ones, deserve to know how their leaders acted when they sent their sons into battle, and how discussions on new strategic threats, chief among them the tunnels, were carried out,” he said at the start of the weekly meeting of his Zionist Camp faction.