Knesset Legal Adviser Opposes Session on Leaked Gaza War Report

Eyal Yinon says a Knesset debate would represent ‘collaboration with an illegal leak’ of the report that criticizes Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (R) and then-IDF chief Benny Gantz during Operation Protective Edge ,July 30, 2014.
Kobi Gideon / GPO

The Knesset’s legal adviser has told the speaker not to hold a planned session on a leaked report on Israeli leadership failures during the 2014 Gaza war.

The legal adviser, Eyal Yinon, has written to Speaker Yuli Edelstein saying the holding of a session, whether in the full Knesset or in committee, would be “collaborating” with “the draft that was leaked illegally.”

On Sunday, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira asked Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit to order an investigation into the leak. Shapira said premature publication of a comptroller’s report or part of it was a criminal offense punishable by a year in prison.

The left-wing Meretz party has collected the signatures of enough lawmakers to force the Knesset to hold a special session during its spring break.

“A formal session in the Knesset on the draft that was leaked illegally is the same as the Knesset collaborating with this severe act,” Yinon wrote. “In addition, a discussion on the draft that has not been made available to Knesset members could harm the rights of those involved to a fair and proper process with the state comptroller.”

He said it could also harm “their right to properly respond to a Knesset debate.”

As Yinon put it, “A discussion in the full Knesset and its committees is not the same as the discussion being held in the media, even if Knesset members are taking part. A Knesset discussion has official government status, and it is obvious the Knesset cannot set rules on the way the comptroller’s reports are released and discussed while helping violate them.”

MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) has called on Edelstein to hold the session next week after Independence Day, which ends Thursday evening.

Last week, officials who have seen the report told Haaretz that Shapira blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for sidelining other cabinet members during the summer 2014 war, also known as Operation Protective Edge.

The report criticizes the allegedly general way Hamas’ tunnel threat was presented to the security cabinet in the months before the war, the sources said.