MKs to call for PM's head in special session

Calls reverberate across political spectrum for Olmert and Peretz to quit following Winograd report leaks.

olmert peretz 88 (photo credit: )
olmert peretz 88
(photo credit: )
The Knesset will convene in a special session this week after the release of the interim Winograd Report on the Second Lebanon War on Monday, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik said. Itzik will decide what day the Knesset will return from its recess after she returns from Spain on Sunday and consults with her political ally, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. MK Yoel Hasson, who is one of Olmert's chief defenders in Kadima, cautioned the public against deciding Olmert's fate based on Friday's leaks of the report to Channel 10, which he said were based on one chapter out of seven and presented an incomplete picture. "People shouldn't be rushing to chop heads and look for blood," Hasson said. "They should be studying the report so the country will be ready for the next war." Nevertheless, MKs from across the political spectrum reacted to the leaks by calling on Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to quit. National Religious Party head Zevulun Orlev said he would submit a bill asking to dismiss the Knesset and call early elections "to allow the public to select a new government that is clean of failures and corruption." Labor leadership candidate Ophir Paz-Pines said Labor must take immediate action to overthrow both Olmert and Peretz. He said Labor's central committee would convene on Thursday or Sunday to discuss leaving Olmert's coalition. "A prime minister who reads such a report should realize that he has to quit," Paz-Pines said. "[Former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan] Halutz took responsibility by quitting and allowing someone new to come in and fix the army. Olmert shouldn't wait for the second [Winograd] report. He should allow the country to stop bleeding and allow a new leadership to take over and help the country recover." A Likud spokesman said opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu would only respond to the report on Monday but added, "We don't need a committee to tell us what the public already knows - that the government failed." Meretz leader Yossi Beilin predicted public pressure would eventually force Olmert to resign, as it did to then-prime minister Golda Meir following the failures of the Yom Kippur War. National Union MK Arye Eldad said the report "proved that Israel has no leader." "Olmert acts irrationally, does not think things through and he should to be permitted to make any decision for the country except one - the decision to go home," Eldad said. When the Knesset convenes, attorney Sa'id Nafa from the Druse village of Beit Jann is expected to be sworn in as an MK, replacing Balad chairman Azmi Bishara, who resigned last week. Bishara spoke via telephone at a rally in support of him in Nazareth on Saturday and told the crowd that he was being persecuted for his views. Bishara told the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that he had gotten job offers in several Arab countries and that he was seriously considering moving to Cairo.