winograd report book 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hizbullah officials on Monday welcomed the critical Winograd Committee's report that accuses the country's wartime leaders of severe failures during last summer's war against terrorist group in Lebanon.
One top Hizbullah official had harsh words for embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and others, saying the report confirmed Israel's leaders were in a state of confusion during the 34-day war.
The report "confirmed the inability of the Israeli political and military leadership to take the appropriate decision to confront Hizbullah during the summer war," Sheik Hassan Ezzeddine, Hizbullah's most senior political officer in southern Lebanon, told The Associated Press.
Hizbullah legislator Nawar Saheli said the report contained an "indirect" admission that Israel had lost the war and a recognition that Hizbullah had won.
"I think this report is an internal Israeli problem. But this is the first time an official report says it was a big failure," Hizbullah legislator Nawar Saheli said in an interview with AP Television News.
"Maybe they didn't say they lost the war, but in an indirect way they say they lost this war," he said.
The highly anticipated Israeli report capped a six-month investigation into the war, which has been widely perceived as a failure by the Israeli public.
Monday's report said Olmert hastily led the country into conflict without a comprehensive plan, exercised poor judgment and bore ultimate responsibility for a war that Israelis widely fear has emboldened the country's enemies.
Olmert, who has already faced strident calls for resignation from his political opponents, said the "failures will be remedied" and vowed to remain in office.
But Ezzeddine predicted that political, public and military pressure would eventually force Olmert to step down.
"Olmert will not be able to stay put in the face of pressure from the military, opposition parties and the Israeli public," he said.
Other Hizbullah officials declined to comment on the report, saying they needed time to carefully read it. A spokesman for Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora also declined to immediately comment.
Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh, a prominent critic of Hizbullah, also refused to comment on the report, saying he has not read it yet.
Hours before the report was released, legislator Mohammed Raad, head of Hizbullah's 11-member parliamentary bloc, said in a radio interview that "Olmert's downfall hinges on movement of the Israeli public opinion."