Israeli politicians and defense officials had been on tenterhooks for months awaiting the report issued Feb. 28 by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on the government’s handling of its 2014 military Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. Virtually everyone anticipated that Shapira would focus on Israel’s lack of preparedness for the tunnel threat by Hamas. But the report also includes significant mention of the fact that decision-makers completely discounted any diplomatic and nonmilitary solution to the dire straits of Gaza’s Palestinian residents, which turned into an even greater security threat than the tunnels.
Shapira noted the April 2013 warning by the former Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot. At the time, Dangot reported to the government about the severity of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and gave his assessment that it could blow up within two years, but the prime minister and his ministers were unimpressed. Their discussions about the Gaza Strip focused solely on military options to counter Hamas threats. "The security-diplomatic Cabinet, especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, did not give any consideration to the fact that Israel itself was creating an imminent major security threat from Gaza and endangering Israeli lives."