An internal IDF investigation carried out after Operation Guardian of the Walls in May found that there were significant intelligence gaps that prevented the army from meeting the expectations it had set before the fighting.
According to a report by Channel 12’s MAKO Pazam news site, the highly critical internal investigation found a “separate operational image” that damaged the operation of the units, as well as public confidence in the Israeli army.
The two terrorist groups fired more than 4,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli cities in the south and center of the country, whenever they wanted, killing 12 civilians and one soldier.
Combined, the two groups have around 14,000 rockets, both long-range and short-range. Most, if not all, of the rockets and mortars are produced locally. Hamas also used explosive drones, naval weaponry and more against Israel during the fighting.
After the conflict, the army conducted various investigations, including a General Staff forum on preparations and preparing the army to learn immediately for future conflicts.
Before the conflict, the IDF had said it had superior intelligence-gathering capabilities on terrorist groups in the blockaded coastal enclave and, according to the report, “gaps in the intelligence landscape did not emerge prior to the operation.”
According to the report, there was strong internal criticism from officials who said there was a dearth of intelligence regarding the rocket, anti-tank guided missile and sniper assemblies belonging to PIJ and Hamas.
Despite having killed several leaders of the group, the investigation also found that there was also a lack of intelligence on the locations of Hamas leaders that the military wanted to eliminate. Instead, the military destroyed the homes of targets, including battalion and company commanders.
Nonetheless, the IDF said that the conflict was a success and that the military hit groups in the Strip with extreme force that deprived Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad of many of their capabilities.
“During three days of Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Southern Command and the Gaza Division destroyed 70 multi-barrel launchers. They destroyed one multi-barrel launcher every hour,” said Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, in June at an event in memory of former IDF chief Amnon Lipkin-Shahak at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.
But according to internal investigation, IDF platforms attacking enemy targets such as fighter jets, helicopters and artillery forces did not have enough intelligence to provide effective firepower.
The investigation also found that the military also undermined public trust by spreading inaccurate reports in the media about the conflict.
“The overestimation of a situation disconnected from an operational reality, disseminated by the military in the media, has generated severe feelings in the public to the point of undermining trust,” it reads, adding that “this situation has impaired capabilities of the military due to the exploitation of the situation by the enemy and the feelings of the public ”.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit responded that it had not learned of the investigation in question, as the channel “declined to provide details and therefore it is not possible to comment on the merits of the matter.”
“After Guardian of the Walls, a lot of in-depth investigations were carried out across all IDF units in order to draw lessons and improve. The investigation in question is not known, ”the statement read. “At the General Staff level, these advanced capabilities, some of which were used for the first time in the operation, destroyed significant offensive capabilities belonging to Hamas and caused significant damage to the organization’s rocket production and development plant.”