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Photo: Avihu Shapira
Protest march
Photo: Avihu Shapira
Reservist: PM laughing in our face
Reserve troops continue post-war protest, upset at Olmert for not quitting over war failures. ‘The sense is that he has something to hide; it's about time we have an inquiry that leads to results’ one soldier says

The third and last day of the IDF reserve troops' post-war protest march began Tuesday. The six reservists are expected to end their march Tuesday evening after reaching Jerusalem.

 

The protesters are headed to Gan HaVradim (Garden of Roses) and the Knesset and are expected to be joined by other demonstrators who will also be calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz.

 

The marchers began their journey of protest Sunday in Tel Aviv and expect to reach their target destination around 6 p.m. Tuesday. Many other protesters are expected to accompany the six reservists to the Knesset.

 

Elsewhere, other protesters have also initiated their own march and are heading from Kfar Giladi to the capital, headed by Movement for Quality Government member Shaul Carmeli.

 

One of reserve soldiers taking part in the march, Yigal Ben Ami from Tel Aviv, told Ynet he feels PM Olmert is "laughing in his face." This sense grew stronger Monday after Olmert announced he will only be setting up two investigation panels to examine the war instead of calling for a full state inquiry, Ben Ami said.

 

"Why isn't he willing to have a full state inquiry while ministers and his government and Knesset members of all echelons are seeking such inquiry?" he said. "The sense is that Olmert has something to hide. Those who did the job in this war are the officers and soldiers, up to the rank of colonel, who in fact entered (Lebanon) and fought. Above that level there were only failures."

 

'Show up and show that you care'

As opposed to his fellow marchers, however, Ben Ami appears to stick to a more moderate line regarding the future of government heads.

 

"Just like in every movement, there are different opinions," he said. "My view is that I don't care whether heads roll, what's important is to finally check where the military and political system failed…it's about time we have an inquiry that leads to results. It's about time those who sit up there spread their wings and come down to the people, so they hear the people's cry."

 

Ben Ami concluded his remarks with a plea to Israelis and to his fellow reservists.

 

"I ask of all the people who care, I beg those people" to arrive in Jerusalem even just for the end of the march, he said.

 

"Just show up and show that you care," Ben Ami added.

 

However, while reservists continue to protest, Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer continues to argue that the post-war protest is motivated by political consideration. Tuesday morning he issued another statement charging that the protest march is being organized by right-wingers.

 

"The reservists' protest march is an orange political platform," he said, charging that a settler organization sent thousands of cell phone text messages calling on recipients to "joint the struggle to topple the government."

 

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