The IDF did not prepare well enough for the arrival of the Turkish Gaza-bound flotilla, the head of the military committee charged with probing the lethal raid on the Mavi Marmara said Monday.
Speaking at a conference held to discuss the IDF withdrawal from Lebanon, Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland revealed for the first time his thoughts on the failures that led to the deaths of nine Turkish citizens on board the vessel.
Eiland, whose committee is working alongside the government-appointed Turkel committee, hinted that the army and government did not take enough time to prepare for the flotilla, leading to the negative outcome.
"When we wait for an incident to happen, the number of responses is limited. However, if we prepare several months in advance, the range of possibilities at our disposal becomeswider," he said.
Eiland also addressed the policies that led to the Second Lebanon War.
"Between 2000 and 2006 the policies on the Lebanese border were not set by the government but rather tactically, by the IDF," he said.
Turning his attention to the Lebanon pulloued, he said: "As a major-general I opposed the withdrawal, along with the general staff, but considering there were only two options – unilateral withdrawal or preservation of the status quo – it was the right decision."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also spoke at the conference. "I am proud of the (pullout) decision, despite the mistakes for which I was responsible. Hezbollah did not get stronger because of our withdrawal, but rather because of our stay in Lebanon," he said.
Barak added that "more unilateral moves will be required" in the future. "Any society that seeks to survive in the Middle East must understand that our moves will never be perfect. Sometimes, when I listen to the public debate, I feel the expectation is that life will simulate reality TV," he said.