JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military’s plan to open an internal investigation into the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that sparked the Gaza war is drawing criticism from right-wing government ministers, who want a deeper review policy towards the Palestinian enclave.
The head of the armed forces, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, informed the security cabinet of the planned investigation during a press briefing on Thursday evening. The briefing was supposed to be closed, but part of it was broadcast by Israeli media, including criticism from several ministers present.
The Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas militants, in which Israel said about 1,200 people were killed and about 240 taken hostage, caught the country’s advanced security apparatus off-guard and exposed the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to critics.
Unlike other senior officials, he made no personal admission of failure. He spoke more generally about the possible need for public outreach with all Israeli decision-makers involved in Gaza policy, including those who preceded his record term.
Two far-right ministers said they were unhappy with the inclusion in the military investigation of Shaul Mofaz, a retired general who was defense minister when Israel unilaterally left the Gaza Strip in 2005 and razed it to the ground. Jewish colonies.
The two ministers, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, accused another ex-general participating in the investigation of having weakened the army by supporting reservists who again protested against the campaign for a judicial overhaul led by Netanyahu last year.
“These are people whose own actions should be investigated – and who should not be the ones investigating,” Ben-Gvir said in a social media post.
In his own online post, Smotrich said he was not in principle opposed to a military overhaul intended to improve war performance. But any investigation into what led to the events of Oct. 7 and broader security doctrines requires cabinet input, he said.
An Israeli army spokesperson’s office said the investigation had not yet begun, adding: “The General Staff is planning the investigation process and the appointment of the heads of the investigation teams “.
(Writing by Dan Williams, editing by Timothy Heritage)
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