Israel Political Brief June 20, 2012: Barrage of 60 Rockets from Gaza, One Hits a Negev Home



In barrage of rockets from Gaza, one hits a Negev home

Source: JTA, 6-20-12

In a barrage of dozens of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, one hit a home in the Negev.

At least 60 rockets were fired at Israel on Wednesday. The home was damaged but no injuries were reported, according to reports.

Earlier Wednesday, an Israeli airstrike killed a terrorist responsible for an attack that left an Israeli civilian dead.

Wednesday afternoon’s targeted attack also seriously injured another terrorist involved in the planning and execution of a cross-border attack two days earlier that killed a civilian construction worker,  the Israel Defense Forces said. The IDF said the two Global Jihad operatives were planning another attack.

The civilian killed Monday was working on the security fence being erected between Israel and Egypt.

Some 50 rockets struck Israel on Tuesday, and several on Monday, in an escalating series of cross-border attacks this week between Israel and alleged Palestinian terrorists.

At least 11 Israeli Border Guard officers have been injured as a result of the attacks.

Israel Political Brief June 20, 2012: State Comptroller’s Report Blames PM Benjamin Netanyahu & Government Officials for Deadly Carmel Forest Fire



Report blames Israel’s Netanyahu for deadly fire

Source: AP, 6-20-12

A new report by Israel’s government watchdog blames Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials for mismanaging the worst fire in the country’s history, a devastating blaze that took 44 lives in 2010.

Report on Carmel Forest fire blames government officials

Source: JTA, 6-20-12

A special report by Israel’s state comptroller on the 2010 Carmel Forest fire blamed several government officials for the four-day blaze.

The report presented Wednesday by outgoing State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz bear “special responsibility” for the response, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch bear “complete responsibility.”

It did not suggest any consequences for the public officials. “That is a clear political question best left to the Knesset and the public,” Lindenstrauss wrote.

The December 2010 fire killed 44 people, destroyed 18 houses and damaged 173. Some 17,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, more than 12,000 acres were burned and an estimated 5 million trees were lost. Some 38 planes and helicopters from 12 countries helped extinguish the blaze.

Documents cited by the report show that Yishai was aware that the Fire and Rescue Services suffered from a severe shortage of equipment, personnel, and command and control methods, but did not act on that knowledge. Yishai has denied the accusations and blamed others for the failures.

The report blamed Steinitz for making the requested budget allocations conditional on sweeping reforms.

Netanyahu was assigned complete responsibility based on his position, and for not attempting to mediate between Yishai and Steinitz.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office pointed out that some of the deficiencies enumerated in the report were corrected immediately after the Carmel disaster.

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 20, 2012: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office Response to the State Comptroller’s Report on the Carmel Fire



Prime Minister’s Office Response to the State Comptroller’s Report on the Carmel Fire

Source: PMO, 6-20-12

Prime Minister Netanyahu is studying the State Comptroller’s findings.
Some of the deficiencies indicated by the Comptroller were corrected immediately after the Carmel disaster:

An aerial firefighting squadron was established. In the past year, it has extinguished over 100 fires, including the major fire in the Jerusalem area.

The Fire and Rescue Service was transferred from the Interior Ministry to the Public Security Ministry and was allocated hundreds of millions of shekels for the opening of eight fire stations, the recruitment of an additional 300 firefighters and the purchase of an additional 89 firefighting vehicles.

In his report, the State Comptroller also notes that, “The Prime Minister’s personal involvement in the urgent securing of firefighting means from abroad by utilizing his network of connections with the leaders of the countries that expressed a willingness to assist in extinguishing the fire, was a positive and important contribution.” This is in reference to the fact shortly after the outbreak of the fire, the Prime Minister worked to bring in 38 planes and helicopters from 12 different countries. Without the firefighting planes from abroad, it would have been impossible to deal with the fire successfully.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanks the State Comptroller for is work and will continue to work to correct the deficiencies.

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