Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended himself Tuesday night, taking the unprecedented step of quoting from the protocols of security cabinet meetings to show that he did not ignore the tunnel threat.
Speaking to heads of municipal councils in Tel Aviv, he refuted claims that for two years prior to Operation Protective Edge, the security cabinet was not briefed about the terror tunnels penetrating into Israel.
Since so much attention over the last day has been about the protocols from the security cabinet meetings before the war, Netanyahu said he too wanted to give a “taste,” adding that there would be nothing he would say that would compromise national security.
Saying that there were discussions about the tunnels already in 2013, he quoted from a meeting on January 12, 2014, six months before Operation Protective Edge.
Netanyahu also said that at that meeting he summed up the IDF’s annual intelligence assessment that was brought to the security cabinet by talking about the threat of rockets and tunnels emanating from Gaza.
“The tunnel present us with a very difficult problem,” he said, quoting directly from the protocols. “And I agree with the annual intelligence assessment: these are the four biggest threats to Israel: nuclear, rockets, cyber and tunnels.”
He also quoted from another security cabinet meeting, this one dating back to February 16, 2014, saying, “The Prime Minister summed up [the meeting] and maintains that today there is a real treat from the Gaza Strip on Israel, which is only getting worse.. Tens of thousands of fighters, thousands of homemade rockets, and a wide spread defensive and terror tunnel system.”
According to this protocol, Netanyahu said that in the next confrontation with Gaza the terror organizations will fire rockets on Israeli population centers and try to carry out attacks through the tunnels on communities near Gaza.
The prime minister noted that this was just the “tip of the tip of the iceberg” regarding what was discussed in the meetings. “How can one say that the [tunnel] threat in all its gravity was not presented to the security cabinet,” the premier then finalized his claims by asking.