Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Monday that only 20 percent of Gaza's artillery arsenal remained intact after Operation Protective Edge.
The defense minister recounted the military's military achievements, saying the IDF killed "40 senior Hamas officials and 10 from Islamic Jihad. As of today, only 20 percent of the rocket and mortar inventory remains from before the operation, when there were some 10,000 rockets and mortars."
At a Bar Ilan University conference, Ya'alon claimed that "Hamas felt it was prepared for a conflict before the operation, and when it was desperate it tried a kidnap and kill mission in the southern Strip; we tracked the preparations for this attack and we thwarted it using airstrikes, and that is how we entered the operation."
Responding to recent criticism of the government's decision-making apparatus, Ya'alon said that "the cabinet met several times on the Gaza issue and was not surprised; it was updated about the rocket threat, the tunnels, and the military's operational plans in the Strip."
"One of the questions which was raised in the cabinet was whether we should enter the Strip or seize it to root out Hamas – the conclusion reached in these preparatory meetings before the operation was that it was not the right time, and thus the IDF stayed in close coordination with the decisions of the political leadership," he said.
Ya'alon answered the criticism levied by several ministers of the operation's conduct: "We navigated the operation according to our compass and not the heated passions swirling outside. We felt the pressure but leaders are tested by unpopular decisions. We defined the end goal according to what was decided on the eighth day of the operation – a diplomatic achievement under the known Egyptian initiative."