ramon fixes tie 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Vice Premier Haim Ramon told the Winograd Committee that from the outset, he favored all-out bombing of Lebanon, including the country's infrastructure, and holding the Lebanese government responsible for the Hizbullah attack on July 12, 2006, in which two IDF soldiers were abducted and eight were killed.
The committee released the censored minutes of Ramon's testimony on Thursday.
Ramon said that beyond the question of retaliation for the Israeli casualties suffered that day, he wanted "the Arab world around us to know that whoever does such a thing and attacks us that way will pay a horrible price. That should be the message we convey."
But Ramon also said that had he known on day one of the war that the only way Israel could defeat Hizbullah was by sending in ground troops, he would have opposed going to war.
Ramon said he had disagreed with the constraints placed on air force bombing missions in the first days of the war. Israel should have bombed the Lebanese infrastructure and not have concerned itself with preserving the pro-West Saniora government or turning the non-Hizbullah Lebanese population against Israel.
Even though the government refused to give then-chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz permission to bomb the infrastructure, both Ramon and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believed Israel could win the war.
Asked by the panel what Ramon meant by "winning the war," Ramon said he meant keeping Hizbullah away from the Israeli border and eliminating the organization's missile threat.
Ramon added that the army had convinced him that this was possible.