Israel's state comptroller in a report on (28 February) criticised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former defence officials for failing to prepare effectively for the threat of cross-border tunnels that were dug by Hamas during the 2014 Gaza war.

The report from the State Comptroller Joseph Shapira also accused the government of failing to consider diplomatic moves that could have prevented the spate of hostilities.

"The political establishment, the military establishment and the intelligence bodies were aware of the tunnel threat and even defined it as strategic.

"And yet the actions taken to deal with the threat did not match this definition," Shapira wrote in the report criticising Operation Protective Edge that claimed lives of 2,251 Palestinians, 74 Israelis and left 100,000 people homeless.

The long-awaited investigation also said that several important information were kept hidden from many senior cabinet members that could have help in making quick decisions in the time of war and crisis.

"Significant and necessary information that the cabinet ministers required in order to make their best decisions ... was not brought before the ministers in a satisfactory manner in the discussions that preceded the [war]," the report mentioned and added that during the operation period the security cabinet did not hold a single "meaningful discussion" on the circumstances, nor had a planned strategy regarding Gaza.

Operation Protective Edge or Israel–Gaza conflict started in July 2014 in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. It was launched by the Israeli military to stop rocket attacks by the Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist organisation and to destroy the group's capabilities to conduct operations against Israel.

Initially, it started with airstrikes but soon started ground war to degrade militants' infrastructure in Gaza and destroy their network of tunnels. In response of that, Hamas fired 40 rockets towards Israel. However, the operation concluded in August 2014, when both sides agreed to a ceasefire.

Tuesday's report has opened an array of criticisms and pressures for PM Netanyahu, who is currently facing corruption probes into his own dealings and those of an ally.

Yitzhak Herzog, chairman of the Israeli Labour party, said the revelations of the report proved that Netanyahu was "a failure in peace as well as in security".

Yair Lapid, former finance minister of Israel and also a member of the security cabinet at the time of the war, told The Guardian, "The report proves beyond any doubt that the prime minister knew about the strategic threat of the tunnels, didn't order the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) to prepare an operational plan, didn't inform the security cabinet and didn't tell the public the truth."

2014 Gaza war
A Palestinian boy walks past a residential building destroyed during the 2014 war, on a rainy day in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog from Zionist Union said the probe report "should engender fear and concern in the heart of every citizen of Israel". He called on Netanyahu to draw conclusions and resign.

However, the 67-year-old prime minister defended himself and said that the "tunnel threat was presented in detail to the security cabinet in 13 separate sessions and was discussed in all its severity while examining all of the strategic and operational scenarios".

The war was a "success" as Israel dealt with the "harshest blow to Hamas since its inception", he added.