Mofaz's Political Considerations Governed Protective Measures

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz gave orders against actions such as buttressing Jewish towns adjacent to Gaza - so as not to lead to a perception that the disengagement might worsen Israeli security.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 12:36 PM

Evidence for the above charge is found in the State Comptroller's official report, issued this past Sunday. The report details the government's failure to adequately defend Jewish communities near the Gaza border. It is the first in a series critiquing the government's handling of the disengagement from Gaza.

Senior army officers said, not for attribution, that if it is true that the Defense Minister knew that security would decrease, and yet still acted to delay the reinforcing of the towns for political reasons, then this is a most grave issue. "In any normal country," one officer said, "the minister would have to resign in such a case."

The "smoking gun" sentence in the Comptroller's report was not reported in the media until Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman publicized it this morning. Huberman reports that on page 13 of the report, the Comptroller writes as follows:

"In June 2004, some three weeks after the government decision on the Disengagement Plan, the Defense Minister held a consultation on 'Presenting IDF Plans for the Disengagement.' in this forum, a plan was also presented for reinforcing security of the communities adjacent to Gaza. Among those present were the Chief of Staff [and other senior officers]. The Defense Minister approved at that meeting a program entitled 'First Response for Seven Gaza-Adjacent Communities' at a cost of 130 million shekels."

The report then goes on to say, however, that Mofaz then issued a critical warning: "In that meeting, he warned against actions and remarks (regarding reinforcement and in general) liable to broadcast and give over the sense that security would be lessened as a result of the Disengagement." (emphasis added)

The Comptroller concludes in his report that the plan was, in fact, never carried out.
The spokesperson for the Comptroller's Office, Shulamit Lavi, said, "The Comptroller's report speaks for itself, and there is nothing more to add."

Huberman pointed out the above clause to the attention of Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former Deputy Head of Military Intelligence. Amidror said,
"I cannot believe that a responsible Defense Minister, as I know Mr. Mofaz to be, instructed the security elements not to speak their mind and not to act, only in order not to 'positively' influence public opinion. The State Comptroller must clarify what he meant by this sentence, for if we read it literally, it is most grave. It places a very heavy blot on the Defense Minister, and I don't think it is right that the Defense Minister could live with such a stain."

Mofaz's press aide submitted the following response:
"As part of the security conception, and [for] a sense of security, the Defense Minister was of the opinion that there was no room to speak in a way that would cause panic, and certainly when there is no basis for such. Every attempt to say that the Defense Minister tried to change things is totally groundless."

Huberman noted, however, that this reaction "ignores the fact that the 'attempt to say' was not by a politician or a reporter, but by the Comptroller himself. In addition, the Comptroller noted that Mofaz did not only warn against speaking, but also against actions - and the plan was in fact not carried out."

Mofaz joined the Kadima Party in mid-December, just two days after he said he would not do so. The resignation came just a few days after he said that politicians who switch from party to party "show a lack of stability and a lack of leadership," and just two days after he criticized Kadima and said, "I don't think Kadima will show the proper determination to stand up for Israel's critical needs."