Israel Commission Criticizes Olmert’s Handling of Lebanon War
In Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is fighting for his political life after a government commission harshly criticized his role in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon last summer. The report accused Olmert of demonstrating a “severe failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and caution” during the 34-day war. The report also singled out Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the military’s former chief of staff Dan Halutz. This is Ruth Gavison, a member of the Winograd Commission.
* Ruth Gavison: “We determine that there are very serious failings in these decisions and the way they were made. We impose primary responsibly for these failures on the prime minister, the minister of defense and the outgoing chief of staff.”
Polls show nearly 70 percent of Israelis want Olmert to resign but he has refused to do so. While the Winograd Commission focused on how the war was managed, critics of the war said the largest mistake was Israel’s decision to invade Lebanon. This is Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset.
* Ahmed Tibi: “The real failure is just the decision of getting on with this war and not the way the war was managed. I do believe that Israel again once proved that it is an army which has a state and not a state which has an army.”
In Lebanon, leaders of Hizbollah say the report by the Israeli government commission confirms that Hizbollah won the war last summer. Nearly 1,200 Lebanese – the vast majority civilians – were killed during the war. Israel lost 119 soldiers and 39 civilians. go to democracynow