Mofaz: I called for an early ground op

Minister told Winograd C'tee he was repeatedly ignored by decision makers.

mofaz .298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
mofaz .298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Transportation Minister and former IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz testified to the Winograd Committee that he had called for a ground incursion into Lebanon the day reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped, but had been ignored. Mofaz's testimony was published Tuesday. The committee members asked Mofaz what the proper course of action after the kidnapping would have been. "I supported the following actions," Mofaz replied. "First, counter the rockets - I thought this was our opportunity. I thought it was right to act that same night, to strike their infrastructure, both permanent and mobile… without harming citizens." Mofaz said he had supported an intense, prolonged strike. He said that he believed it was necessary to find a "tipping point" against Hizbullah, such as an attack on [Hizbullah spiritual leader Hassan] Nasrallah. The former defense minister added that he did not see this as impossible, even though at the time there were no clear targets for Israeli action. Mofaz also said that he had not been informed of political issues throughout the war - despite the fact that had made the cabinet aware of this. The former defense minister had tried to influence decision-making countless times throughout the war, but was disregarded. "Not only was I ignored every time I intervened, I was attacked," Mofaz said. Mofaz's statement was divided into two parts - the first addressed his position as Chief of General Staff during the Lebanon War and the IDF withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000, and the second detailed his experience as a minister and member of Cabinet during last summer's war. In another meeting, the minister tried to raise the issue of drafting reservists and was again ignored. Asked how he himself reacted at the beginning of the war, and whether he was consulted due to his defense experience, he said: "I phoned the prime minister on the second or third day [of the war], and on the eighth day of the war I said to him, 'Listen, this is not right.' Afterwards I called him again and I said to him [again], 'this is not right.' And you see that nothing changed."