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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ministers blast Netanyahu over Operation Protective Edge goals

At Thursday's cabinet meeting, ministers Gideon Saar and Sylvan Shalom blasted Prime Minister Netanyahu for not making Hamas' overthrow the goal of Operation Protective Edge.
According to a source that participated in the meeting, Interior Minister Sa’ar told Netanyahu that, from the outset, the goal of the operation should have been to topple Hamas’ reign in Gaza.
“I wasn’t one of those (ministers) to go out in public, in front of the media, and say we need to topple the Hamas regime, but today I am saying it here that that should have been the operation’s objective,” the source quoted Sa’ar as saying.
The source who attended the meeting also said Sa’ar quoted extracts of the Winograd Commission report, which investigated the failures of the Second Lebanon War, focusing on criticism leveled by the commission on the leaders' foot-dragging and the decisions that were made on a diplomatic level.
“I recommend you read the Winograd report,” Sa’ar told Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, according to the source.
When asked to respond to the source’s claims, Sa’ar told Haaretz, “I am legally obliged to avoid responding to things that were said in the cabinet meeting even if those quotes are incorrect.”
The source also said that Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom criticized the conduct of the operation, too, stating that in his opinion toppling Hamas should have been the goal of the operation. However, he emphasized in his closing comments that he supports the prime minister.
Netanyahu, for his part, turned to the ministers and said he expects them not to criticize him publically while the country is at war. The prime minister emphasized that there is no problem with voicing criticism, so long as it is done around the table at cabinet meetings.
I don't hear any public criticism of Netanyahu here, except from the anonymous minister who spilled the beans of what was said in the cabinet meeting to Barak Ravid.

But the criticism is in place. Leaving Hamas to fight another day - as appears likely - was the wrong thing to do.

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