Is­rael wasn’t ready for 2014 Gaza war: Of­fi­cial

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Is­rael should have bet­ter pre­pared for Ha­mas’s use of tun­nels in the 2014 Gaza war, a se­nior army of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day, ahead of the re­lease of a key re­port on the con­flict. Speak­ing to AFP on con­di­tion of anonymity, the of­fi­cial said Is­rael’s mil­i­tary has sought to learn lessons from the 2014 war, in­clud­ing by bet­ter prepar­ing troops to deal with tun­nel war­fare.

The of­fi­cial’s com­ments come ahead of a re­port by Is­rael’s state comp­trol­ler on the con­flict ex­pected to be re­leased be­fore the end of the year. A draft of the re­port re­port­edly found that “the se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment did not have a com­pre­hen­sive plan for deal­ing with Ha­mas’s of­fen­sive tun­nels”. The army has con­ducted its own in­ter­nal re­view of the con­flict, which also found that the mil­i­tary was un­pre­pared for the tun­nel threat.

The of­fi­cial, who has read the in­ter­nal re­view of some 182 pages com­pleted sev­eral months ago, said: “I think that we could come to this war... bet­ter than we came to it.” “I think the (mil­i­tary) did not do a good enough job to close a gap be­tween the prob­lem and the so­lu­tion,” he said. Spe­cial en­gi­neer­ing units have since been bol­stered, the of­fi­cial said. Ef­forts have also been made to in­crease col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween units.

Is­rael is also re­port­edly build­ing an un­der­ground wall around Gaza to block tun­nels. “We tried to learn and to teach our­selves what we need to do,” the of­fi­cial said. Dur­ing the war, Is­rael’s mil­i­tary found 32 tun­nels, in­clud­ing 14 that ex­tended from the Gaza Strip into Is­rael, ac­cord­ing to a UN in­quiry into the con­flict. Mil­i­tants in Gaza, run by Is­lamist move­ment Ha­mas, used the tun­nels dur­ing com­bat, in­clud­ing to carry out cross­bor­der at­tacks.

The new threat of at­tack tun­nels led to deep con­cern in Is­raeli com­mu­ni­ties border­ing Gaza. But de­spite crit­i­cism over Is­rael’s han­dling of the tun­nel threat, the Gaza Strip suf­fered an over­whelm­ingly higher num­ber of vic­tims and amount of dam­age in the 2014 war. The 50-day con­flict killed 2,251 Pales­tini­ans and left 100,000 home­less. On the Is­raeli side, 73 peo­ple were killed, most of them sol­diers.

The UN re­port said both Is­rael and Pales­tinian mil­i­tants may have com­mit­ted war crimes, de­cry­ing “un­prece­dented” dev­as­ta­tion and hu­man suf­fer­ing. The up­com­ing Is­raeli comp­trol­ler’s re­port on the con­flict may pres­sure Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, who has faced crit­i­cism from po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents over the tun­nels. Ne­tanyahu has re­port­edly asked the comp­trol­ler for an­other hear­ing to de­fend his govern­ment’s han­dling of the is­sue by ex­plain­ing that the cab­i­net had re­peat­edly dis­cussed it in-depth. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.