Heads of ‘Gaza Envelope’ Regional Councils Express Hope That Israeli Political, Military Echelons Will Learn From, Implement Findings on Failures of Operation Protective Edge
The heads of local authorities in the “Gaza envelope” in southern Israel expressed hope on Monday — in the wake of a report that Hamas has 15 terror tunnels leading into the Jewish state, and ahead of the release of the State Comptroller’s Report on the failures of Operation Protective Edge — that the defense establishment is implementing lessons learned from the 2014 war, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
“We trust the political echelon and the army to learn from the report’s findings and recommendations, and to continue addressing the issue of the tunnels,” said Sdot Negev Regional Council head Tamir Idan. “I am not familiar with the information about the 15 tunnels in question, but I am certain that if they do exist, they are being tackled with the utmost seriousness by the relevant authorities… the tunnel threat created a new reality on the ground, which has taken a toll on the area’s civil resilience. We are aware of the threat and its major impact on our residents, which is why we are following and will continue to monitor how it is being handled.”
Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council head Alon Schuster said, “I would like to reiterate and reemphasize that the IDF acted and is still operating in the area to safeguard the security of the residents. The underground barrier currently under construction will not just prevent the digging of new tunnels, but will destroy existing ones…It appears that a solution to the problem is drawing near.”
Merhavim Regional Council head Shai Hajaj criticized what he called the “hysterical debate, full of political accusations, surrounding the release of the Comptroller’s report,” calling it “a waste of time and ineffective in fixing what was defective.”
Hajaj added that the report should “speak for itself,” and stated that its findings are of great interest and import — but chiefly in order for the defense establishment to learn from them.
Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi told Channel 2: “We trust the IDF and defense establishment, which are working around the clock to keep us safe.”
MK Haim Yellin from the centrist Yesh Atid Party said that the government “should not rely on the resilience of the Gaza envelope residents, because it needs to lead them and be responsible for their safety and well-being at all times.”
He added, “Despite the tunnels and lack of security, the area is flourishing and its residents continue to reveal themselves as true heroes worthy of admiration.”
The State Comptroller’s Report, whose findings on Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014 are purported to be damning, is slated to be released on Tuesday.