Former prime minister Ehud Olmert and ex-IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz gave a
passionate defense of the Second Lebanon War on Thursday, claiming that it
contributed to bolstering Israel’s deterrence in the region.
just days after he was acquitted on major corruption charges, Olmert said that
the 34-day war changed Israel’s strategic reality.
“It brought about a
deterrence that had never previously existed on the Lebanese border,” Olmert
Halutz said that if he was in the same position today as he was on
July 12, 2006, he would urge the government again to go to war against
“The decision to go to war was correct, justified and proper,”
Olmert admitted that there were mistakes made during the war,
which ended with the establishment of the Winograd Committee to investigate the
military and government failures.
He said that one of the war’s
significant achievements was the unprecedented international support Israel
received, despite extensive attacks on civilian infrastructure.
not happen by coincidence but rather because we knew how to create international
legitimacy around us that gave us the support to do these things,” Olmert
In a direct assault on Defense Minister Ehud Barak – his former
coalition partner – he said that the Second Lebanon War actually began in 2000
following the kidnapping of three IDF soldiers by Hezbollah. Barak was prime
minister at the time.
“The war started the day that Israel promised to
shake the ground in Lebanon over the kidnapping of three soldiers,” Olmert said,
referring to Barak’s ultimate decision not to respond at the time. “The Second
Lebanon War started the moment when Israel lost its deterrence.”