Israel could have avoided the 2014 Gaza war, which left 74 Israelis and more than 2,000 Gazans dead, security cabinet ministers told The Jerusalem Post on Monday, the day before State Comptroller Joseph Shapira’s damning report on Operation Protective Edge is set to be released.
The ministers said the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, followed by dozens of rocket attacks, compelled the security cabinet to embark on the operation, but that in retrospect, the war was not wanted by Israel and did not accomplish enough to justify it taking place.
“Israel was dragged into Protective Edge and it wasn’t our choice,” one minister said.
“Protective Edge did not have to take place. Different things could have been done that could have given us time to plan and have proper deliberations.”
Security cabinet ministers blamed faulty intelligence on Hamas’s intentions and ego wars among intelligence agencies for what turned out to be Israel’s longest war since the War of Independence in 1948.
They said Israel could have avoided angering Hamas by transferring tax money that was needed to pay salaries in the Gaza Strip.
Other security cabinet ministers said Israel had no choice but to respond to Hamas’s aggression and that it was important to use the operation to take action against the threat of terrorist tunnels built by Hamas. But they said that without operational plans, the tunnels were handled “on the fly” as the operation went on.
The ministers said there were also missed opportunities for diplomatic achievements, while Israel’s image was harmed by the emergence of pictures of destruction from Gaza that were…