Netanyahu Doesn't Oppose Publishing Unclassified Sections of Watchdog's 2014 Gaza War Report

Subcommittee of the Knesset’s State Control Committee is slated to vote Tuesday on whether to declassify parts of the report.

Netanyahu and State Comptroller Shapira, 2012.
Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not object to publishing the unclassified sections of a state comptroller’s report on the 2014 war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, officials in his bureau said on Monday.

The sections in question cover preparations for dealing with the threat posed by Hamas’ cross-border tunnels and the functioning of the diplomatic-security cabinet during the 50-day war.

On Sunday, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu’s aides had been discussing trying to torpedo publication of the embarrassing report by arguing that publication would undermine the principles of information security.

A subcommittee of the Knesset’s State Control Committee is slated to vote on whether to declassify parts of the report on Tuesday. Even if the vote is affirmative, however, the report won’t be published immediately, since the defense establishment will first have to decide which material must be removed from the published version.

On Sunday, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira gave the subcommittee the section of the report that deals with the diplomatic-security cabinet’s work. The chapter is titled “The decision-making process regarding the Gaza Strip on the eve of Operation Protective Edge and at its beginning.” Shapira is expected to give the subcommittee the last two sections, on the tunnel threat and issues of international law during the fighting, in the near future.

Over the next few days, a political battle is expected to be waged in the subcommittee over which portions of the report to make public. The Prime Minister’s Office will apparently seek to prevent publication of certain details. A draft of the report prepared about two months ago was highly critical of Netanyahu’s performance during the war, and also of the performances of then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and the diplomatic-security cabinet.