Bereaved parents call for PM Ehud Olmert to resign

"Now the wall of silence about negligence will come tumbling down."

Olmert concerned 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Olmert concerned 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
With a week left before the release of the Winograd Report, grassroots groups have stepped up their efforts to force Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's resignation. On Wednesday, the Bereaved Family Forum published their alternative report, entitled "How the Courageous Fell." Filled with personal accounts and testimonies compiled by the family members of soldiers who died during the Second Lebanon War, the report makes an emotional appeal for Olmert's resignation. "The prime minister has failed, and after reading [these] words he cannot remain in office for a single day more," the parents write and proceed to elaborate a number of grievances against Olmert. "The foolish attempt to present the [war's] final operation as a move that induced a positive change in the clauses of the truce agreement adds fuel to the flames of failure." Earlier this week, MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) presented her own report on the Second Lebanon War, in which she blasted the decision to engage in a massive ground operation during the final two days of the war, and called for Olmert to leave office. Other groups, including several led by reservists who fought in the war, said that they would be releasing reports ahead of Winograd. "Maybe Olmert believes he can ignore Winograd. He has already said he will not step down because of it. But he cannot ignore us. We will continue to petition for him to leave office. We will do whatever it takes," said Batya, who lost her son in the final week of the war. "We made our report emotionally because we hope it will be able to touch the hearts of those who have forgotten us." "We are parents of children who fell while defending their country in the Second Lebanon War. We are bound to this country with every fiber of our being, and in all of our actions, small and large. We have always considered contributing to our country a central component of our outlook. The enlistment of our sons and daughters to serve in the Israel Defense Force was the natural consequence of their upbringing," reads the opening of the report. During their presentation of the report in the Knesset, members of the Bereaved Families Forum explained that it was through their own investigations into the deaths of their loved ones, that they obtained material for the report. "Bereaved families in this country have remained silent for far too long," states the report, "silent about negligence and silent about governmental shortcomings... but now the wall of silence will come tumbling down." The detailed report, dozens of pages long, goes on to specify societal and political ills that - according to the authors - were reflected in the political echelon's refusal to accept responsibility for the war's failures. Though that the families tried to present the report to Olmert, they were not given entrance to the prime ministers office. MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP) said he also tried to give Olmert a copy of the report in the plenum, but Olmert did not accept the document. MK Zevulun Orlev (NU-NRP), chairman of the "lobby for the implementation of the Winograd report," stated that "only in dictatorial, authoritarian regimes are leaders free to do what they wish and are unaccountable for their actions." "Olmert will quickly find out that Winograd is not he end of his problems, but the beginning," said Orlev. Elie Leshem contributed to this report.