Olmert, Peretz, Halutz to face Winograd's harsh criticism

Report, to be released Monday, calls leaders to task for series of failures while directing the war in Lebanon

April 29, 2007 01:37
2 minute read.


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The Winograd Committee report due to be released on Monday will harshly criticize the performances of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz, according to a Channel 10 news reporter, who said Saturday that he had seen sections of the document. According to the final chapter of the report, which includes the committee's conclusions, Olmert is described as a passive leader who was led by the nose by the army and who did not take charge of the war he was supposed to be commanding. However, Olmert's associates said he would not quit in the aftermath of the report. Peretz, who should not have accepted the Defense portfolio in the first place, did not do what he should have to make up for his lack of knowledge of security matters after he accepted the post, according to the report. The report said that Halutz had not taken Hizbullah's missile attacks against the northern part of the country seriously and at no time came up with a plan to address the threat. Constitutional expert Suzie Navot, who teaches at the law faculty of the Academic Campus of the College of Management in Rishon Lezion, said after the Channel 10 report that the Winograd Committee was not authorized to recommend sanctions against any of the figures who, in its opinion, had failed in their duties during the war. Regarding Olmert, the committee also found that the government neither had coherent operational plans when it decided to go to war nor carried out the plans that did exist. While the prime minister, seeking to avoid casualties, was unwilling to launch a ground offensive in southern Lebanon until the last few days of the war, he did not choose any clear alternative to a ground attack, the committee reported. The committee also found that the decision-making process during the war had been highly problematic - not carried out in an orderly manner, and not conducted as one would expect in wartime. According to the committee, Olmert had been completely dependent on Halutz and did not have any body of his own to help him analyze or question the army's operational recommendations. The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement on Saturday night saying they had not yet received a copy of the report and were unaware of its contents. According to the statement, Olmert's office does not intend to respond to media speculation and will wait until the interim report is published, examine its contents, and only then respond. Regarding Peretz, the committee wrote that instead of making use of the security experts in the ministry, he established, for what it called irrelevant and purely personal reasons, an external advisory body of his own. As for Halutz, the committee concluded that not only did the former chief of General Staff present one operational plan after another that failed to address the Hizbullah Katyusha threat, he also failed to provide the government with alternative plans of action. According to the report, Halutz proposed the plan he wanted to implement along with obviously unrealistic alternatives that he knew the government could not choose. The committee also found that Halutz did not allow other officers to present their own, sometimes differing views, to the ministers. If their views had been aired, the report said, the ministers - even if incapable of forming their own criticism - could at least have questioned Halutz more seriously. Mark Weiss and Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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