Separation fence decision lacked security, economic sense
The Israel Defense Forces wasted billions of shekels by indiscriminately firing artillery shells during last summer's Second Lebanon War, according to the findings of the Brodet Committee report examining the defense budget. However, this revelation is small change compared to another, even scarier one: The separation barrier, one of the largest public works ever undertaken in Israel - at a cost of NIS 13-15 billion - was built without any prior discussion or analysis.
"The building of the separation barrier is an example of faulty and wasteful management," says the Brodet Committee about the fence.
"The committee was not convinced that the process of building the fence was undertaken with proper judgment and with consideration of all the security and economic considerations," said the panel.
"The committee has not seen any cost-benefit analysis and thorough examination of ongoing security, before the building of the fence or after. The opposite is true: the committee was told that the building of the fence does not save almost anything in operational security, though it is possible that the quality of security has improved significantly. No discussion was ever held on the matter," wrote the committee in its report.
In spite of the enormous expenditures required for building the fence, the IDF did not relate to the fence as an important military project - and also did not relate to the budgetary implications for the IDF in building the fence, the committee said.
It turns out that the IDF "saw itself as a subcontractor following orders to build a fence, without clarifying for itself the significance of the expenditure and the price of maintaining it, which will reach hundreds of millions of shekels a year. We had the impression that no comprehensive discussion was held in the Prime Minister's Office or in the Finance Ministry, in addition to the discussions held by the IDF, and the cost-benefit ratio of the changes in the route of the fence, at a cost of billions of shekels, were never analyzed," stated the report.
The Brodet Committee also attacked the management failures of the IDF during the Second Lebanon War. The committee presented as an extreme example the firing of artillery shells and air-to-surface missiles.
"According to the IDF's own testimony, the bombardment during the war by aerial bombing and artillery fire - shells fired in an ineffective statistical fashion - was extremely excessive and cost billions of shekels.
The shelling was on numerous targets and the effectiveness was little. There was no one in the IDF or the government whose job was to analyze the question and order a change. The cabinet decided on NIS 8.2 billion in compensation for the expenditures due to the fighting, including firing ammunition ineffectively."