Comptroller’s Report Criticizes Disengagement, Before and After

by Ezra HaLevi, INN

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss published a report Wednesday finding that the 2005 Disengagement Plan cost twice the figure quoted by Ariel Sharon’s government prior to its implementation.

The government estimated the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, the destruction of their homes and their rehabilitation elsewhere would cost 4.5 billion shekels. In reality, it has cost 9 billion shekels ($2.25 billion) so far.

“The cabinet and the Knesset were not presented with estimates and assessments regarding the expenses that may be required to fund the various solutions,” Lindenstrauss wrote.

The report blamed the Prime Minister’s Office, The Disengagement Authority and the State Assessor’s Office for the failures.

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the report, blaming the funding issue on the fact that the Evacuation-Compensation Law was only passed after the Supreme Court approved its final form in June, 2005 – two months before the forced eviction. They also blamed Gush Katif residents for not cooperating with the expulsion from and destruction of their homes.

IDF Criticized
The comptroller report criticized the IDF for failing to stop Kassam rockets from being fired from Gaza, and for failing to find a solution to the smuggling tunnels providing Gaza’s Hamas-led PA with massive amounts of arms and explosives.

The report recalls that 1,025 rockets landed in the western Negev in 2006. “Although the threat of the Kassams was identified at the end of 2001, the IDF didn’t develop a strategy to combat the threat quickly enough, and by the end of 2005 there was still no clear strategy,” the report said.

The report reveals that in October 2004, then-Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon appointed Dan Halutz, to head a team assigned with finding a solution to the Kassam fire. Halutz went on to lead the IDF as Chief of Staff during the Disengagement, after Ya’alon’s quiet unwillingness to command it cost him his job.

The IDF statement released after the report claimed the army has indeed had advances toward preventing the tunnels.

According to IDF officials, a 30 million shekel system that detects the tunnels has been developed, but is only operational in 10 percent of the areas in which it is needed, due to budget limitations of the IDF. Regarding the bombardment of Israeli targets with Kassams, the IDF report explained, “Budget cuts and delays in receiving approval have made it difficult to formulate a long-term plan for the formation of an IDF force, in particular regarding the prevention of high trajectory fire.”

According to the latest intelligence briefings, there are at least 15 active smuggling tunnels in PA-controlled Rafiah, along the Gaza-Egypt border. Rafiah is home to a crossing manned by observers from the European Union.

May 10, 2007 | Comments Off on Comptroller’s Report Criticizes Disengagement, Before and After

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