State Comptroller Yosef Shapira on Friday accused senior officials of leaking his secret report on the 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza, which the Hebrew media said points to major flaws in the government’s handling of the conflict.
Earlier this week, Shapira sent the highly classified draft report to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and other government officials.
The Israeli media began reporting on the content of Shapira’s draft text on Thursday, and published attacks by anonymous sources described as close to Netanyahu and Ya’alon.
This infuriated Shapira who demanded explanations, his spokesman Shlomo Raz said.
He particularly asked that “the prime minister and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to examine how the draft, classified top secret, was leaked by one of those reviewed,” said Raz.
The draft report accuses Netanyahu and Ya’alon of failing to update the security cabinet in real time of the imminent threat of war with Hamas, and not discussing the grave threat of the terror group’s attack tunnels, according to Hebrew media sources who read it.
Maariv newspaper said that among those hit hardest in the draft was then-IDF chief Benny Gantz, “who is exposed as a weak chief of staff who was out of touch with reality.”
Netanyahu, it added, “is depicted as having no crisis management abilities.”
Yuval Steinitz, a senior Likud minister loyal to Netanyahu, said Friday the reported findings of the report “bore no relation” to the report’s true content.
Gantz on Friday slammed the leak of the report, saying he had only received it for review once it had been handed to the press. “I regret the fact that the comptroller’s report reached me 24 hours after it reached the media,” he said.
The former army chief also appeared to reject the reported findings, saying that, “Operation Protective Edge was directed by the prime minister, defense minister and in a considered, responsible and balanced manner.”
Yediot Aharonot newspaper said the draft finds that during the conflict “the security establishment did not have a comprehensive plan for dealing with Hamas’s offensive tunnels.”
Hamas, the terrorist organization that has ruled Gaza since a bloody 2007 coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, has an extensive network of tunnels inside the Strip, including some that reach into Israel and Egypt.
It has used tunnels in the past as firing positions, shelter from Israeli attack, storage of weapons and at times to enter Israel and capture soldiers.
Their destruction of the tunnels was cited by Israel as one of its primary goals during the devastating 2014 war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.
The IDF said it destroyed more than 30 tunnels during the 2014 war.
Fighting on the Israel-Gaza border flared again earlier this week when Palestinians in Gaza fired mortar rounds at Israeli troops searching along the frontier and short distance inside Gaza for tunnels.
Israel responded with tank shells and air strikes, killing a Gaza woman in the worst cross-border violence since the 2014 war.
Tensions continued Friday when IAF aircraft launched new strikes against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in response to fresh mortar fire.
Hamas’s Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that the terror group is not seeking war with Israel but would not tolerate Israeli troops entering the Palestinian territory.
“We are not calling for a new war, but we will not under any circumstance accept these incursions,” he said in a prayer sermon in the Gaza Strip, on the fourth day of the tit-for-tat exchanges of fire around the coastal enclave.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report