(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Parents of soldiers who fell in the Second Lebanon War are planning to block roads and stage mass protests and hunger strikes from January 31, the day after the Winograd Committee publishes its final report on the war, until the prime minister "goes home," members of the Bereaved Parents Forum said on Thursday.
While protests failed to topple the government following the publication of the committee's interim report on April 30, 2007, forum members said they were determined to continue their demonstrations until Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigned.
"We paid the heaviest price an Israeli civilian can pay," said Haim Tzemah, whose son, St.-Sgt. Oz Tzemah, 20, of Maccabim-Reut, was killed on August 12, 2006, during the war's last 48 hours. "We will do everything we can - within the framework of the law - to make Olmert understand that he needs to resign."
The last 48 hours of the war will feature prominently in the final Winograd Report. The document is expected to be particularly damaging to Olmert, who ordered the IDF to launch a final offensive when he knew that a cease-fire was almost certainly hours away. Thirty-three IDF soldiers were killed during that final ground operation.
Tzemah said that he recently received a letter from committee chairman Judge Eliahu Winograd assuring him that the report would deal extensively with those last 48 hours. The committee, Winograd said, had sent staff to the United Nations in New York to check the exact timeline of the Security Council vote on Resolution 1701, which led to the cease-fire.
"We will abide by the law but will do what it takes to bring down Olmert and his government," Tzemah said. "We paid the price of the war and it is time that Olmert pays his price."
On Wednesday, forum members plan to meet with various political parties at the Knesset to present a report that includes a chapter on practical recommendations written by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, chairman of the Tafnit party, who has been an outspoken opponent of Olmert since the war.
"The moment the Winograd Report comes out, we will call on Olmert to resign," Dayan said Thursday. "Since he already said he won't resign, we will call on the Knesset to remove him."