Knesset Panel Postpones Release of Hot-potato Report on 2014 Gaza War

Decision comes as defense officials say sensitive information in document, drawn up by state comptroller, still needs to be redacted.

A Palestinian fighter from the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement,  inside an underground tunnel in the Gaza Strip, August 18, 2014.
Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The Knesset State Control Subcommittee decided Tuesday to push off the vote on releasing the comptroller’s report regarding the cabinet’s performance and the state’s preparedness for the tunnel threat during the summer 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

The panel said it decided on the postponement after defense officials told members that there was sensitive information in the report that had not been redacted.

The committee members instructed the defense officials and representatives from the comptroller’s office to agree on a version that would not harm national security and could be made public. Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Sunday.

In principle, the committee supports making the report public. Once the document’s confidentiality is lifted, the report will be given to the defense establishment to remove the classified sections before it is released publicly. The committee should also soon be given the remaining two parts of the report about the war in Gaza – one part about the tunnel threat and one part about aspects of international law pertaining to the combat there.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not opposed to the unclassified sections of the report being made public, and that he plans to support the move. Two days ago, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira presented the committee with his report, entitled “The Decision-Making Process Regarding the Gaza Strip on the Eve of Operation Protective Edge and at Its Beginning.”