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Disagreements between Israeli government and military over assault on Gaza

July 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Differences have emerged in recent days between the political and military sectors in Israel over the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli military analyst Amos Harel. One of the differences revolves around the inability of the military operation to achieve the latest goal set by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: that of destroying the tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

Writing for Haaretz newspaper, Harel said: “As the war drags on and the losses mount, it’s no surprise that there are signs of friction between the political and military echelons.”

He goes on to explain that: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon were not pleased by a briefing given this week in which a senior officer said that the prime minister had received a full report on the tunnel threat in June 2013,” adding that, “questions about who knew what, and when, about the tunnels will be the focus of political and intelligence clashes once the fighting is over.”

Since the military operation began, the Israeli government has expressed surprise over the extent of the tunnel network.

Harel suggested that the Israeli government must decide whether it will expand the aggression in the Gaza Strip or terminate it and withdraw, either with or without a negotiated agreement.

But whilst Netanyahu now claims that the goal of the aggression on the Gaza Strip is to destroy the tunnels, Israeli newspapers published headlines quoting a senior officer as saying that the army has not succeed in reaching the tunnels or even knowing where they start.

Harel also noted how the escalating conflict is weighing on the security budget. The estimated cost of the Israeli military aggression is around 5 billion shekels ($1.46 billion), and it seems that the military will demand more, citing the old armoured personnel carriers which were targeted by the resistance at the beginning of the ground invasion in order to increase the budget.

Yossi Yehoshua, the military correspondent for Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, reported that those listening to the high-ranking army officers over the last two days would get the impression that the officers are talking into “the microphones of the Commission of Inquiry to be held after the war” to discuss the issue of the tunnels and the “limited achievements of the army,” as he put it.

Meanwhile, Harel pointed to the failures of the Israeli military aggression in the Gaza Strip, indicating a need to reorganise the entire army. He concluded that: “The training of forces, the equipment in use, combat doctrine, and operational plans — all will need to be thoroughly investigated when the hostilities are over.”