A commission of inquiry has accused the Israeli Prime Minister of “severe failures of judgement” in launching a war against Hizbollah last year. In its interim report the government-appointed panel found that Ehud Olmert did not have what it called “a well-processed plan” when he launched the military campaign. It is also highly critical of the Defence Minister and Labour party chief, Amir Peretz.
The commission of two jurists, two former generals and a public policy expert did not urge either leader to resign. Its initial findings will, however, heap more pressure on Olmert, who has already faced a number of corruption allegations. Olmert has said the 34-day conflict improved Israel’s security by banishing Hizbollah from its frontier strongholds.
But many Israelis regard the conflict as a disaster and have called for Olmert to stand down. The military offensive was triggered by the kidnap of two Israeli soldiers. It quickly escalated into all-out attacks with Israeli launching airstrikes on Lebanon and the Shi’ite militants firing some 4,000 rockets across the border. Almost 160 Israeli troops and civilians were killed in the month-long war. About 1,200 people died in Lebanon.