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Israel accused of failing to prevent 2014 Gaza war: report

Editor: zhangrui 丨Xinhua

03-01-2017 06:55 BJT

JERUSALEM, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet are accused by a state report released Tuesday of failure of exploring diplomatic moves that could have prevented the bloody 2014 Gaza war.

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira criticized Israel's political and military leadership in the report over their conduct before and during the military campaign in the Gaza Strip during July-August of 2014.

The 51-day fighting claimed the lives of at least 2,251 Palestinians, 65 percent of them civilians, according to the United Nations, and Israeli figures show that the war also killed 72 Israelis.

Hamas militants launched about 4,250 rockets that reached as far as Tel Aviv and the northern town of Caesarea during the war, and temporarily halted the flights at the Ben Gurion Airport.

According to the 200-page report, which stirred enormous public interest in Israel even ahead of its publication, the cabinet, Netanyahu, and the then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon failed to hold a strategic discussion about Gaza. Only military actions to stop the rocket fire were considered.

The report shows that ministers acknowledged that a policy change to ease the distress of the residents of the besieged Palestinian enclave might decrease the hostility but failed to hold a thorough discussion on the issue and take actions.

The report said that policy steps could have averted the escalation.

Shapira also accuses Netanyahu and Ya'alon of keeping the government in the dark about information gathered by the intelligence services over a large-scale attack planned by Hamas.

Netanyahu, Ya'alon, and the former chief of staff, Benny Gantz, are at the center of the report. They are accused of not correctly assessing the Hamas' rocket capabilities and not addressing the threat posed by cross-border tunnels built by Hamas.

These tunnels were one of the main reasons cited by Israeli officials for starting the offensive. At the end of the war, which was concluded with a U.S.-brokered truce, the Israel said it eradicated most of the tunnels.

However, earlier this week, an Israeli government official told Channel 2 that 15 "terror tunnels" are believed to exist untill today.

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