A former senior Navy officer called on its commander, Eliezer Marom, to resign Sunday, just a day before the Eiland committee report on the IDF flotilla raid is scheduled to be filed.
While the report is not supposed to include personal conclusions against IDF officials, it is expected to criticize Navy commanders for their assumption that the commando forces would not encounter violent resistance on the flotilla vessels.
One of the main questions in relation to the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, which claimed the lives of nine people, is who is responsible for this incorrect prediction – the organizers of the operation and Naval Intelligence, or the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Former top officers both in the Navy and Military Intelligence believe the responsibility lies solely on the Navy.
A retired brigadier-general and former Navy senior official heaped harsh criticism on the Navy's operation Sunday. "That's not how you seize a ship," he told Ynet. "Not under any circumstance do you drop soldiers on to a crowded deck."
Conflict on board the Marmara ship (Photo: Reuters)
The former senior officer said the parties involved wanted "a heroic operation with headlines of bravery in the press" causing them to forsake "the right way the Navy has followed, and stopped and seized ships with dozens of terrorists 20 years ago with smaller commando forces and less hype." The former officer blamed one person for the failure, the Navy commander. "Even without personal conclusions, the most senior element in the Corps should be held responsible."
"Had the activists on deck decided differently, we could have wound up with deaths or abductions," he said. "The Navy commander should definitely pay a personal price, whether it is in resigning or being fired or ending his term. He should not continue serving while the entire State of Israel is paying the price."
The former Navy official also noted that many in the Corps feel a major blunder had occured. He noted that intelligence elements were responsible for the misconception, namely the Naval Intelligence Division.
Marom, Barak and Ashkenazi explaining results of the raid (Photo: Dalit Shacham)
'Intelligence wasn't the problem'
Retired Major-General Shlomo Gazit, former Military Intelligence chief, agreed that the Navy bears full responsibility for the lacking intelligence, but claimed the problem was not just intel-related.
"Naval Intelligence is supposed to provide specific information and relies on the Military Intelligence Directorate for the bigger picture. However, there was no need for special intelligence activity on the ground, the same way as such is not needed when one is evacuating graves in Jaffa – one knows the haredim will show up and pose resistance.
"For months, everyone knew there was a ship on its way with several hundreds who wanted to create provocations – and it doesn't matter what their names are or where they are from."
Gazit added, "The consideration was whether to prevent the future entrance of ships into Gaza and was not a matter of intelligence. It was stated in advance that a provocation was expected, therefore intelligence was not the problem."
Yet another former senior Military Intelligence official noted that the "responsibility was with the Naval Intelligence."
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