Fundamental Failure in Gaza Flotilla Events Was IDF Planning, Says Begin

Representing the government, Minister Benny Begin accepts responsibility for the Gaza flotilla events, but not the blame.

Likud Minister Benny Begin on Thursday said that the Israel Defense Forces is to blame for the failure of the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid.

The State Control Committee convened on Thursday to discuss the recent State Comptroller's report, which was highly critical of Israel’s handling of the events surrounding the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla.

During the meeting, Begin said that the political leadership should always be held responsible, but placed most of the blame on the military for the reported failures.

Begin quoted a series of statements by former IDF Chief Gabi Ashkenazi made during a meeting between the seven top ranking ministers, only five days before the flotilla incident. The quotes Begin chose to recite were intended to show that in contrast with what was written in the State Comptroller report, the IDF chief estimated that if violence would be used by the passengers of the Mavi Marmara, it would be limited.

“We ought to be careful in analyzing Ashkenazi’s statement that ‘force would be applied,’” said Begin. “The IDF chief also said that one of the passengers might be carrying a gun. He told us at that same meeting that ‘people may sustain injuries, and there may be handcuffs. That’s it. Maybe someone will pull out a knife or a flare gun.’”

Begin added that the fundamental failure was in the planning of the operation by the IDF. According to Begin, if the army’s estimates were different, both the orders given to the army and the arrangements made by the Prime Minister’s Office and by the Foreign Ministry would have been changed.

National Security Advisor Ya’akov Amidror also contributed to the discussion, saying that there is no assurance outcome would have been different had the preparations were optimal. “There is no recipe that baking according to it would result in a perfect cake,” he said.

Amidror also added that “the National Security Council is the new kid on the block and he is fighting for his life and for his place. Every day since I was appointed, the council is more and more dominant in the work of the government.”