Mofaz: Olmert failed in Lebanon War

Transportation minister also slams Peretz, Halutz, says he warned PM before war but was unheeded.

Mofaz 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Mofaz 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former defense minister Amir Peretz and former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz failed in their handling of 2006's Second Lebanon War, Olmert's Kadima colleague, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, said Saturday. Speaking on Channel 2's Meet the Press program, Mofaz said the three men did not have the necessary experience to lead the campaign and consequently made incorrect decisions that led to Israel losing a war for the first time. "I met with the prime minister, I warned him and I did my best to offer better alternatives, but he turned them down," Mofaz said. "The defense minister, prime minister and chief of General Staff failed in their management of the war." Regarding his own role in leading the army as defense minister and chief of General Staff prior to the war, he said that "in the six years ahead of the Second Lebanon War, we fought and defeated Palestinian terror." Asked what he would do if Defense Minister Ehud Barak decides to keep his promise to leave the coalition if Kadima does not replace Olmert, Mofaz said the current Knesset should continue in office and elections should be held inside Kadima in which he might be a candidate. "I think holding general elections now will not help political stability," Mofaz said. "When there will be elections, I will consider running against Olmert." Mofaz's statements angered senior Kadima officials close to Olmert. They questioned why Mofaz remained in an Olmert-led government. "If he doesn't believe in the prime minister, he shouldn't stay in his cabinet," a source close to Olmert said. "Any minister who thinks the policies are wrong can go. It's wrong that he is trying to have his cake and eat it too by enjoying his cabinet seat while criticizing the man at the head of the table in an effort to find favor with the public." Olmert's and Peretz's spokesmen declined to respond to Mofaz. But the latter's aides highlighted what Peretz said in a press conference two weeks ago: "Mofaz saw the defense establishment crashing around him when he was in charge, and he did nothing about it."