Israel Investigates War Failures

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday, August 14, he will order an investigation into the deficiencies of the army's handling of the Lebanon war, with calls to restrict the defense budget seen gaining momentum.

Israel Investigates War Failures

"We will look into all errors, and won't hide the results of probes," Olmert told the Knesset hours after a UN-brokered truce went into effect, Haaretz reported.

"We will have to review ourselves in all the battles," he said. "We won't sweep things under the carpet."

Olmert said Israel will learn the lessons of this war and "do better."

His statements echoed earlier remarks by Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

"I plan to fulfill my share and definitely appoint a team which will conduct a comprehensive, thorough inquiry into all the events before the war broke out and during the war," he told lawmakers at his center-left Labour party.

The Israeli government has been under fire over poor military performance during the five-week offensive.

The Lebanese Hizbullah resistance group has proved a foe to be reckoned with, inflicting heavy losses on the armed-to-the-teeth Israeli army.

Except for Israel's ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, Israel suffered heavier civilian casualties in the Lebanon conflict than in any fighting since it was established at the rubble of Palestine in 1948.

At least 123 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 350 others wounded in fierce battle with well-trained and armed Hizbullah fighters.

Hizbullah also shot down at least four Apache helicopters and destroyed one warship, a fast-speed patrol in addition to around 100 of Israel's pride Merkava tanks.

In addition, the Israeli army failed to achieve its avowed goal, i.e. paralyzing Hizbullah missile capacities, with at least 40 Israelis killed in rocket attacks that rained northern Israel.


Olmert began a battle for his political survival by acknowledging shortcomings in the conduct of the war.

"The overall responsibility for this operation lies with me, the prime minister," said Olmert, who won election in March.

"I am not asking to share this with anyone."

Opinion polls show public support eroding for Olmert, a career politician who lacks the combat credentials of many of his predecessors.

Israeli opposition leader and former premier Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the government for failure to meet its self-declared aims.

"We live in a coma and we received a wakeup call," said the Likud leader.

"It must be said honestly, there were many failures, failures in identifying the threat, failures in preparing to meet the threat, failures in the management of the war, failures in the management of the home front," Netanyahu said.

"Without doubt we shall need later on to learn the lessons and fix the mistakes."


The Lebanon war is also seen as giving momentum to a proposal on military supervision of the defense budget, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli Finance Ministry has proposed to put the defense budge under the Knesset's supervision procedures like all other ministries and a dramatic reform for the defense budget's military section.

If approved, the proposal would only allow the defense ministry to make unapproved budget changes of 15 million shekels.

The Defense Ministry is currently able to make changes of up to 87 million shekels and receive retroactive approval for them while other ministries work within a margin budget changes of 1.9 million.

The defense budget is currently approved by a joint sub-committee of the Finance Committee and the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

Most of the subcommittee's budget approvals are issued retroactively.

The Defense Ministry has expressed its firm opposition to the proposal before the Lebanon war.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16