Powered by WebAds

Sunday, November 18, 2007

You mean that's all he's responsible for?

The Sunday Times of London (warning: Uzi Mahnaimi alert) reports today that the Winograd Report, which is to be released sometime over the next couple of weeks, will blame Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert for the death of thirty-three IDF soldiers in the last sixty hours of last summer's war.
The report focuses on the decision to carry on fighting after the United Nations security council brokered a ceasefire with Hezbollah, the militant Shi’ite militia, in August last year. Desperate for victory, Olmert pressed for a final assault against Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon.

“Olmert, aware that a ceasefire agreement was underway, ordered the army to carry out an impossible operation to wind up a failed war against Hezbollah with a big showdown,” said one of the sources. During the final hours of the war an Israeli helicopter was shot down and many Israeli tanks destroyed.

Another source said: “My hunch is that the report will blame Olmert in the harshest way possible and the last 60 hours of the war will be the hook on which they hang him.”


“There is an open wound between the families of the dead soldiers and Olmert,” said a veteran Israeli Defence Force officer whose son was also killed in the final 60 hours.

Last April Olmert survived the commission’s interim conclusion that “the prime minister bears supreme and comprehensive responsibility for the decisions of his government and the operations of the army”.

Since then, the minister of defence, the commander of the armed forces, the commander of the northern region, his deputy, the commander of the navy and even some of the divisional commanders have resigned.

The final operation of the war, codenamed Direction Change 11, was launched on August 11, 2006, as the final details of a ceasefire were being hammered out in New York.

“This was the operation the army had planned for months – to crack down decisively and finish off Hezbollah,” said one officer. “But it should have begun the war, not ended it and we needed 96 hours to trap Hezbollah and then a week to finish them off.” At 8pm on August 11, Stephen Hadley, President George W Bush’s national security adviser, contacted Olmert. He said a final draft of the security council-brokered ceasefire had been issued and it was “good for Israel”.

According to Captives in Lebanon, a recent book by Ofer Shelah and Yoav Limor, Olmert telephoned Shaul Mofaz, the transport minister and a one-time commander of the Israeli armed forces and former defence minister.

“An excellent proposal has been agreed in the security council,” Olmert said to Mofaz. “Exactly what we wanted.”

Mofaz asked what he thought was a rhetorical question. “What about Direction Change 11?”

To his dismay, Olmert answered: “We carry on as scheduled.”

Mofaz apparently responded: “What are you going to say to the families of the soldiers who will die in this pointless operation?” The book claims Olmert whispered: “Well, that’s a tough one.” Then, after a pause: “I don’t think I’ve got a good answer.”

Nevertheless, Olmert ordered the army to attack. By 3am Israel time, UN security council resolution 1701 was adopted but Olmert pressed on. It was another 60 hours before the ceasefire came into effect.
If this is what it takes to hang Olmert, so be it. But there's much more for which he can be blamed in last summer's war. That he didn't start the war with Direction Change 11 is a far more serious offense as far as I am concerned. Had he started the war with Direction Change 11 - as the IDF recommended - the war might have accomplished something.


At 6:31 AM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

Abba Eban, who always seemed to think that Arab intransigence was more comedy than anything else, may have quipped that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an oppotuntity, but they are always in the policitcal drivers seat as Israel continues to fight for its life.

Unfortunately, it is Israel who never misses the opportunity to miss an oppotunity. This is just another example.


Post a Comment

<< Home