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Israel's controversial clash with Hezbollah

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Israel's controversial clash with Hezbollah


It all started with the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. The cross-border raid on July 12, 2006 was to spark a conflict that would end in bloodshed on both sides. Israel responded with a summer offensive, aimed at securing the return of its abducted troops and striking a knockout blow to the Islamist group. At its end, more than 30 days later, neither objective had been achieved and those behind the campaign found themselves in the firing line.

Both Amir Peretz, the defence minister at the time, and army chief Dan Halutz resigned. Many believed Ehud Olmert should do the same.

For even as a United Nations-brokered truce was being finalised, in the last days of combat, Israel’s premier ordered a major ground assault. It failed to produce tangible military results but left 33 Israeli soldiers dead.

In all, around 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mainly troops, were killed during the conflict. Wounded himself, Israeli reserve soldier Tomer Bohadana is one of a growing number in the army calling for Olmert to quit.

He said the prime minister “failed, in our opinion, in the supreme test of being a leader, which is leading a country in war, and he needs to take personal responsibility and resign”. But Olmert already survived scathing criticism in the panel’s interim report nine months ago and has made it more than clear that he does not plan to go now.

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