Gov't seeks to calm furor over report

Politicians on Right and Left call for Olmert, Peretz to take responsibility.

idf tank lebanon 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
idf tank lebanon 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
As the publication date for the Winograd Committee's interim report loomed near, government officials found themselves on Sunday scrambling to respond to representatives of both the Right and the Left who made it clear that they would urge zero tolerance for those found responsible for the failures of the Second Lebanon War. The government wouldn't disband over the committee's findings, Vice Premier Shimon Peres said in Sunday's cabinet meeting. "Break up? We're only halfway along," Peres declared.
  • 'Olmert won't quit over report'
  • Analysis: The Winograd anticlimax Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who came in for harsh criticism in parts of the report that were leaked to the media on Saturday evening, said that the government bore "national responsibility." "We can't discuss what was leaked," the prime minister said. "We will wait for the report, learn [from it], and then respond." Labor, Trade, and Industry Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) supported Olmert's approach, claiming that the government was far from its finish. "[We] need to wait for the report, learn from it, and implement [the lessons.] It's clear that we have to adopt all the report's recommendations." Environment Minister Gideon Ezra, who served in the past as public security minister, said that in order to keep the government intact, officials would have to take personal responsibility for the failures of the war. "As a minister, I see myself as one of those who made decisions, and the rest of the ministers and I have to begin making things right," Ezra said. Earlier Sunday, NU/NRP faction head Uri Ariel submitted a bill to the Knesset proposing that the current government be disbanded, and calling for early elections, Israel Radio reported. According to the report, Ariel said that the conclusions published on the management of the war published in the Winograd report, coupled with public contempt for the current leadership, demanded early elections. Ariel called on all parties in the Knesset to agree on a date for new elections. Labor MK Ophir Paz-Pines, meanwhile, called on Sunday for Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to "stand up, take responsibility, and resign." Paz-Pines told Army Radio that he urged Olmert and Peretz to make the sacrifice, because "the society and state [were] paying the price" of their remaining in office. MK Danny Yatom (Labor) said Sunday in response to the leaked sections of the Winograd report that the entire government, beginning with Olmert and Peretz, was responsible for the failures of the Second Lebanon War. "Whoever sits in the prime minister's or defense minister's seat is responsible, from that moment, and can't say his hands were clean," Yatom said. "All the decisions made during the war were the results of [Olmert and Peretz's] decisions, and therefore we can't cut Olmert, Peretz, or the government any slack."