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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Chief of Staff Dan Halutz resigns

IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz (finally!) resigned this evening over his dismal handling of the war in Lebanon last summer. We can only hope that Ehud K. Olmert, Amir Comrade Peretz, Tzipi Feigele Livni and the entire government will soon follow.

Halutz informed Olmert and Peretz this evening, and planned to tell the IDF General Staff tomorrow morning, but issued a statement just after midnight this evening - about two hours ago - out of fear it would be leaked. According to the Jerusalem Post,
Halutz said that he felt a responsibility as the military's superior officer to remain in his position until the completion of the 50 internal probes into the performance of the military during the war, and until the IDF's workplan for 2007 was completed. Once this was done, Halutz asked to leave his job immediately.
Olmert and Peretz both professed 'disappointment' with Halutz's decision. But here's the key:
Senior officers estimated that Halutz's decision was made after he received inside information that he would take the fall in the results to be published in February by the government-appointed Winograd Commission. The officers pointed to his remarks made two weeks ago that he planned to remain in the IDF, and said that his decision to resign indicated that "something extreme changed his mind."


The IDF spokesperson released a statement of Halutz's decision after midnight on Tuesday night. Since the completion of the war in Lebanon in August, Halutz came under an onslaught of criticism from fellow commanders and politicians calling for his resignation and blaming him for the disappointing results of Israel's 33-day fight against Hizbullah.

Many of the IDF internal probes found that Halutz was personally responsible for the confusion and orders distributed during the war, and the IDF lack of preparation for embarking on the war this past summer.

Despite the immense pressure he was under, less than two weeks ago Halutz seemed to indicate that he planned to stick it out in the IDF.

"I did not hear my superiors tell me to go. When they ask me to, I will respond." Halutz told military reporters during a briefing in Tel Aviv. Halutz at the time referred to the Winograd Commission, and said that if the committee recommended that he leave, he would do so.

In other words, Halutz knew he was going to be forced out. But will it spread to others? YNet reports on the reaction at the Defense Ministry:
Officials in the Defense Ministry said to Ynet that Halutz notified Defense Minister Amir Peretz of his intention to resign.

"Peretz didn't try to convince the chief of staff to remain in his position [the Post reported that Olmert did try to convince him to stay. CiJ], and honored his decision. Halutz needed to do this a long time ago," one official said.

Those surrounding Peretz are concerned that following this development, the defense minister himself will be asked to resign. "This could be a snow ball even though there is no connection between Halutz's responsibilities and the defense minsiter's responsibilities," an associate of Peretz told Ynet.
YNet reports that Halutz had gone so far as to try to prevent the results of the army's own internal investigations - which found Halutz responsible - from being published outside the army.
Only Tuesday morning, former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen (res.) Dan Shomron, who reviewed Halutz's performance during the recent war, criticized him harshly for his flawed management of the conflict.

Tuesday afternoon, he presented the Knesset's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee with his conclusions, declaring that this summer's war "was run without any goal."

According to Shomron, "The prime minister instructed the army to halt the rocket fire on Israel , but the army failed to translate it into a military objective." Shomron stressed that Halutz could help the IDF recover.

During his presentation to the committee, Shomron revealed a detail which could testify to Halutz 's fear of leaks, even among the General Staff members.
Haaaretz reminds us that Halutz was appointed Chief of Staff by Ariel Sharon just before the disengagement unilateral surrender of Gaza and expulsion of its Jews in the summer of 2005 because then Chief of Staff Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon had criticized Sharon's plan. Sharon should have listened to the critics.



At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Haaretz publish out of Gaza or Ramallah ? I keep forgetting


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