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Arguments erupted in Israeli cabinet over intelligence leading up to Gaza campaign

An Israeli news report has revealed that members of the Israeli security cabinet argued sharply over the 51-day war against Palestinians in the Gaza strip.

According to the Israeli website Walla!, which is thought to be close to the Israeli intelligence, one particularly sharp argument happened ten days ago between the chief of intelligence, Yoram Cohen, and other top officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Cohen reportedly claimed that he had warned Israeli officials last April that Hamas "intended" to carry out a wide-scale confrontation with Israel. However, the ministers denied Cohen's claim.

Walla! described how during the meeting, Cohen recounted the Israeli intelligence's achievements, including getting information about the tunnels and the alleged Hamas attack against Israel, which, he claimed, the movement was planning to take place in July.

As he was speaking, the news website said other ministers started interrupting him, stressing that he had never issued any warnings regarding Hamas's alleged plans to carry out a wide-scale attack against Israel.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich were amongst the first ministers to interrupt Cohen. They said they had never heard about his warnings. Then Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon and Netanyahu attacked him.

While cabinet ministers admitted that intelligence warned them about an expected Hamas operation via a tunnel in the southern region, they denied having any warnings regarding a possible two-month-long confrontation, throughout which Hamas would refuse all ceasefire proposals.

The ministers said that if there were indeed such warnings by Cohen, then Israeli officials would not have expected for Hamas to surrender and beg for a ceasefire during the war, which it did not.

Walla! noted that Yaalon delivered remarks on 30 June, only one week before the war, saying that Hamas was not interested in escalating the situation with Israel.

Other ministers noted that the intelligence agency supplied them with weak information during the war on Gaza as well, mistaking Hamas's position regarding the ceasefire.

 

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