A damning Israeli inquiry into the deadly clash on a Turkish ship that challenged the blockade of Gaza two years ago has criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as unprepared to handle potential violence.
The inquiry raised fresh questions about whether the Israeli administration would use faulty planning to launch a lone strike on Iran.
The 153-page report by Israeli State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss faulted Netanyahu for not holding formal consultations with national-security advisers or government ministers in the weeks leading up to the confrontation.
It said that Netanyahu instead relied on ad hoc discussions and a vague military assessment that the army would be able to stop a flotilla with hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists before it reached Gaza, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Most commentators heaped scathing criticism on Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for their handling of the raid on the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of a Gaza-bound flotilla, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed.
Most were quick to point out the deeply-flawed decision-making process exposed in the report raised serious questions about Netanyahu and Barak’s ability to make sound decisions on crucial issues like a strike on Iran’s nuclear program.
“The state comptroller issued a charge sheet,” wrote Shimon Shiffer in the top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
“It cries out to the prime minister’s bureau that if this is how you manage affairs in an uncomplicated matter like how to stop the Turkish flotilla, who will believe that you will handle things differently while preparing to attack nuclear facilities in Iran?”
Lindenstrauss said there were “significant shortcomings” in the decision-making process which was led by Netanyahu, and accused the premier of failing to hold any structured, formal discussions with a group of top ministers nor with the National Security Council about the handling of the flotilla.
Instead, Netanyahu had held separate, private discussions with Barak and with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, none of which were documented.
“At least one thing emerges from the state comptroller’s report on the Mavi Marmara that nobody can argue with and that is that we have good reasons to be concerned.. They’re called Netanyahu and Barak,” wrote another Yediot commentator, Sima Kadmon.
“If this is what takes place in the most important bureaus in the country in the course of one flotilla... God preserve us from larger events, like bombing Iran, for example.”
Netanyahu and Barak are “the two people who will decide whether to attack Iran,” she wrote.
“Who can promise us that the decision-making process in that case will be better, that all the questions will be raised, that all the scenarios will be examined, that all the ramifications will be taken into account?”