18 March,

'We tried to avoid the war in Gaza,' PM Netanyahu says


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participated Wednesday in a Knesset State Control Committee meeting that discussed State Comptroller Yosef Shapira's report on 2014's Operation Protective Edge.

The report, released in March, declared that the 50-day operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip had been plagued by a lack in intelligence and operational plans, technological deficiencies, and a prolonged failure by both the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet and the military to deal with the threat from Hamas' grid of terror tunnels.

At the Knesset committee meeting, Netanyahu said there was no alternative to the cabinet's decision-making process.

He said that following the abduction of three Israeli teens in June 2014, two months before Operation Protective Edge, Israel had "toppled Hamas in Judea and Samaria, which in turn significantly destabilized the Gaza Strip."

Netanyahu added that "Hamas didn't achieve any of its goals" in the fighting, and said that "according to intelligence, Hamas geared up for a wide-scale operation with aim of lifting the maritime blockade on Gaza. It planned a combined attack -- from the air, firing thousands of missiles on Israeli cities; from the sea, through naval commando raids; and underground by using dozens of tunnels to infiltrate [Israel]."

Netanyahu was repeatedly interrupted by bereaved parents, who leveled scathing criticism at the government, at times raising their voices.

Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan and Knesset House Committee Chairman MK Yoav Kisch interjected in support of Netanyahu.


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