A senior army intelligence official said on Tuesday that the IDF underestimated the determination of Hamas terrorists in Operation Protective Edge, terming it a "tactical assessment mistake."
"If you'd asked me two months ago, I wouldn't assess that it's going to take us 50 days," the official said to AFP in a Tel Aviv briefing late Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
"We thought it's going to take them a shorter time to understand what happened, and we are mistaken here. It's a tactical assessment mistake, but it's a mistake," added the official.
Assessing the preparation of Hamas terrorists, particularly in their foiled naval infiltration attempts to carry out terror attacks on Israel civilians, the official added "they were in pretty good shape and pretty well trained. You can see for sure they were trained outside of the Gaza Strip." However, he added "we haven't seen anything that has surprised us."
While the IDF may have made an assessment mistake according to the official, it made no mistakes about giving the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad a thorough beating in the 50-day operation.
He noted "we think they are in very bad shape," pointing out that two-thirds of the rocket stores were wiped out and 616 terrorists killed according to the IDF.
The talk of "tactical mistakes" comes as many have criticized the political echelon for not taking more decisive action against Hamas and agreeing to numerous ceasefires with the terror group, thereby extending the operation and not removing the terror threat.
Along those lines, the commander of the IAF special reconnaissance Flying Camel Squadron said last month that aborted airstrikes on Gaza terror targets due to Hamas's strategy of embedding in civilian populations "sabotaged" the operation.
In context of the public criticism, a full 59% of Israelis said they felt Israel did not win Operation Protective Edge in a poll last Wednesday, with a decisive majority of the public, 54%, opposing the ceasefire.
The responses apparently indicate frustration with Israel's leadership, as illustrated in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plummeting approval rating: at the time of the IDF ground entry to Gaza he enjoyed 82% support, as opposed to a paltry 32% at the time of the ceasefire sealed last Tuesday.