olmert winograd 298.88.
(photo credit: GPO)
The much-anticipated release on Thursday of the testimonies of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz provided politicians across the spectrum with an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the country's leadership both during the war and now.
Meretz faction chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said she hoped that the publication of the protocols would "send the leaders home."
Gal-On's party colleague Ran Cohen said that the attempts by Olmert, Peretz, and Halutz to blame others for the war's problems demonstrated the failure in leadership. "None of their [accusations] can cover the irresponsible way in which they made decisions," Cohen said.
Likud faction chairman Gideon Sa'ar called Olmert's testimony "an attempt to blame the IDF alone, while eluding responsibility at the government level."
Sa'ar also said that Peretz's testimony had given an embarrassing picture of the minister's lack of basic security knowledge, and showed that he "hadn't made a real effort to learn the subject."
MK Zevulun Orlev (NU-NRP), said that "now it's clear why Olmert objected to the publication of his testimony."
"Olmert did not fulfill his role as a leader, and if he didn't take responsibility during the war, he should do so now and resign," Orlev said.
Labor MK Danny Yatom said that Olmert's testimony justified the committee's harsh personal criticism of the prime minister.
Sources close to Olmert rejected the MKs accusations that he had foisted responsibility for the war's failures on the IDF.
"We invite the public to read Ehud Olmert's entire testimony to the Winograd Committee," the sources said.
"This is responsible, considered testimony. The prime minister did not blame anyone, the opposite. His testimony offers a picture of a prime minister who is human, who hesitates, gets upset, consults, asks questions and makes decisions after careful consideration," the sources continued.
Olmert's office, commenting on the testimony, defended his wartime actions as "the necessary conclusion from a process of planning and consultation that Olmert has carried out" since taking over as prime minister in January 2006, following Ariel Sharon's incapacitating stroke.
Addressing the criticisms that Olmert was trying to fob off the war's flaws on the army, the statement said, "the prime minister didn't fob off responsibility onto anyone or accuse anyone. ... At the same time, Olmert doesn't conceal there were failures; the military says that, too."