Hinting at the mistakes of the political echelon during the war in Lebanon in the summer, OC IDF Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Tuesday that the length of the war - fighting inside Lebanon lasted 33 days - was a factor in the feeling of disappointment in Israel and Hizbullah's sense of victory. Speaking at a Tel Aviv University conference, Gantz said the war went on for too long and that its length was one of the reasons that Israel did not emerge with a clear victory.
The second Lebanon war: JPost.com special report
To obtain a more positive outcome in the next war, Israel would need to create "clearer and sharper results" in addition to wrapping up the fighting in the shortest amount of time possible.
"It is strange for me that Hizbullah claims it won even after we killed between 500 to 800 guerrillas and destroyed their long-range missile array, as well as thousands of targets in Lebanon that will take years to rebuild," Gantz said, adding that the only explanation is the difference between the Lebanese and Israeli cultures and their perception of the outcome of the war.
"It is not all about penetrating deep into enemy territory," he said. "If you didn't create the right story, the positive narrative, then it is as if you lost."
Meanwhile, former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Shomron, chairman of the committee probing the performance of the General Staff during the summer's war, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that "the war was conducted without a clear aim" and that the IDF had failed to deal effectively with the Katyusha rockets fired at the North.
The General Staff "did not succeed in translating the instructions of the government to stop the rocket attacks into practical operations on the ground," he said.
Nevertheless, Shomron stressed that, in his opinion, the army's current senior officers were capable of rehabilitating the IDF.
During the committee meeting, MK Effi Eitam (NU-NRP) said that rather than the IDF, it was politicians who failed to set clear objectives during the war who should be blamed for its outcome. "There was an intellectual collapse among our leaders, who were supposed to set the army's agenda," Eitam said.
MK Matan Vilnai (Labor) blamed the IDF leadership, saying it was "their mismanagement that prevented the army from acting to its full capacity." Vilnai said there would always be a need in the IDF for more money and equipment, but that the real problem lay with the top brass's decision-making.
MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said there were national security failures both with the political leadership and with the IDF's senior staff.