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IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz
Photo: Tomeriko
Defense Minister Amir Peretz
Photo: Peleg Havatzelet
Halutz to generals: You must lead IDF forward
Resigning IDF chief of staff meets with General Staff at Kirya Base in Tel Aviv Wednesday morning, bids generals farewell. Halutz says he thoroughly considered his steps, decided to resign once war inquiries had been completed

Resigning IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz bade farewell to the army's General Staff Wednesday morning.

 

Halutz resigned Tuesday night. He reported his resignation to Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

 

 

Halutz told his generals that he does not plan to leave his post immediately but to pass on his position in an organized manner.

 

Halutz stated that he thoroughly considered his steps and decided that resignation was the step he had to take once the inquiries into the war had been completed.

 

In a meeting at the Kirya Base in Tel Aviv, Halutz added that he has faith in the major-generals and that they must lead the IDF forward.

 

Following the meeting, Halutz convened with Defense Minister Amir Peretz to explain the reasons for his resignation and recommend possible candidates to take his place.

 

The two agreed that Halutz would stay in post until a replacement is found.

 

Peretz expressed his appreciation of Halutz and stated that he would launch a quick and orderly process, in coordination with Prime Minister Olmert, of selecting the next chief of staff.

 

War investigation to continue

Meanwhile, the Winograd Committee announced that Halutz's resignation will not affect the dates of witnesses' testimonies and that the committee will continue in its task to produce an intermediate report on the political and military echelons' performance during the second Lebanon war as soon as possible.

 

Wednesday afternoon, the State Prosecutor's Office is also expected to announce its decision on MK Zahava Gal-On's petition that the protocols of the committee's hearings are published.

 

Officials in the Defense Ministry said to Ynet that Halutz notified Defense Minister Amir Peretz of his intention to resign.

 

"Peretz didn't try to convince the chief of staff to remain in his position, and honored his decision. Halutz should have done this a long time ago," one official said.

 

In his letter of resignation, Halutz wrote: "For me, the word 'responsibility' has a weighty meaning: It is the essence of everything, from A to B. From confidence to investigation. My conception of responsibility is what led me to remain in my post until now, and to lay this letter on the desk today."

 

Two major-generals have already been named as possible replacements for Halutz: His deputy, Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, or Director-General of the Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. (res.) Gaby Ashkenazy.

 

Aviram Zino contributed to the report

 

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