Reserve officers demand Olmert resign

50 reservists sign letter saying PM who doesn't accept responsibility "cannot send people to war."

2nd  lebanonWar 224.88   (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
2nd lebanonWar 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
IDF reservists on Monday stepped up the pressure on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ahead of the publication of the Winograd report with the publication of a letter demanding his resignation signed by 50 company commanders. "Senior military commanders paid the price for their failures and were forced to resign, while you, who are at the top of the system, refuse to accept standards of personal responsibility," read the letter, which was shown on Channel 2 news. "Anyone who is not committed to personal responsibility cannot send people to war, and this is true of a prime minister as it is of every company commander." In the letter the officers emphasize that they will continue to serve and follow orders, but assert that "it is not only our privilege but our duty to demand that you change your mind, accept responsibility for your failures in the Second Lebanon War and make the necessary personal conclusions." Late last week, the Winograd Committee reportedly decided not to take an overly harsh tone with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in its final report after a serious dispute on the matter. Committee member Prof. Yehezkel Dror demanded a tough stance, which would 'place a loaded gun on Olmert's table' and force him to resign, Channel 2 reported on Thursday night. The other four members agreed that a harsh report was required, but argued that most of the responsibility for Israel's performance lay with the army, not the prime minister. Dror then insisted that his opinion be noted in the final report as a 'minority position,' but this was also rejected by the others. Channel 2 reported that the dispute escalated to the point where some of the members threatened to disband the committee. However, Dror eventually accepted the majority's ruling. Ahead of the January 30 release of the report, Olmert has formed a team to help him survive its political aftermath made up of Cabinet Secretary Ovad Yehezkel, Vice Premier Haim Ramon and coalition chairman Eli Aflalo. Gil Hoffman contributed to this report