International press agrees that Halutz was responsible

Several newspapers felt that Halutz's resignation could start a domino effect in the Knesset.

Halutz speaks 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Halutz speaks 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The international press was quick to agree Wednesday with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz who, in his letter of resignation, took responsibility for less-than-stellar handling of this past summer's Lebanon war. The foreign media consensus was clear: Halutz has paid the price for an ineffective military campaign against Hizbullah. France's Le Figaro said that "Halutz did not accomplish any objectives. He did not neutralize Hizbullah or bring back captured soldiers [Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev]." The French newspaper also pointed to "a lack of organization and a confusion of orders," and criticized Halutz's over-reliance on air strikes. Several newspapers - including France's Le Monde, Britain's Guardian, and Jordan's Al-Bawaba - felt that Halutz's resignation could start a domino effect in the Knesset and pressure on the prime minister and the defense minister to tender their own resignations. A BBC report said that now that Halutz had "fallen on his sword, the spotlight is likely to shift back to the civilian leadership." But the Japanese Mainichi news agency blamed Halutz, not Olmert, for a weakening of Israel's image. "The country went to war united," Mainichi reported, "but fell apart due to the failures attributed to Halutz." The New York Times critiqued Halutz's policy of air strikes, which produced too many civilian casualties, turning public opinion against Israel. According to London's Daily Telegraph, public opinion on Israel had already been tarnished by Halutz, whom they called a "decorated but controversial figure, with a reputation for cockiness." Other media outlets highlighted the mounting problems in the IDF command structure. The Irish Times and IC Wales focused on failed military preparation and tactics, which swelled criticism once the fighting ended without a clear-cut Israeli victory. In addition, the two papers reported that many bereaved families have been calling for Halutz to step down since the fighting ended on August 14. The SwissInfo news agency suggested that Halutz's departure "could weigh heavily on Washington's new push to revive Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking."