MESS Report / IDF probe of Gaza flotilla carefully avoided placing real blame

Giora Eiland’s conclusions on the takeover of the Gaza-bound flotilla are as ineffectual as those he provided four years ago after investigating the abduction of Gilad Shalit.

Source: Haaretz, 7-13-10

Every four years Maj. Gen. (res. ) Giora Eiland is called to the flag. He retrieves his general’s epaulets from storage, squeezes into his fatigues and sets out to investigate the army. The results are fairly similar.

His conclusions on the takeover of the Gaza-bound flotilla, released yesterday, recall those he provided four years ago this week after investigating the abduction of Gilad Shalit: a clear and detailed analysis identifying numerous mistakes, and no recommendations regarding the individuals involved.

Eiland describes a series of mistakes, but none reflecting dereliction of duty. There were not enough soldiers on deck to face off against the violence of the Turks and the unpredicted magnitude of their opposition.

The naval commandos who arrived by boat were met by violence (including live fire ) that stopped them from boarding, leaving the 15 commandos who had slid down ropes from a helicopter at a disadvantage.

Coordination problems among intelligence agencies created gaps in information before the operation started. The navy, according to Eiland, did not properly consider alternatives to the original plan. It was not clear under what circumstances a decision could be made to delay the operation (for instance, an encounter on deck with activists armed with axes and clubs ). After all, the operation was taking place a few miles from Israel’s shores. Tel Aviv was in no immediate danger.

The report also reveals that Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi had warned in a letter to government officials on May 13 – two and a half weeks before the operation – that the military option should be a last resort.

Should he have done more than that? Eiland did not say so…READ MORE

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