Hizbullah declared Monday that the Winograd report
on the failures of Israel's political and military echelons during the Second Lebanon War proves that Israel was defeated in last summer's war.
Sheikh Hassan Ezzeddine, Hizbullah's most senior political official in southern Lebanon, told AP that the report "confirmed the inability of the Israeli political and military leadership to take the appropriate decision to confront Hizbullah during the summer war."
Hizbullah's head of international relations Nawaf al-Moussawi said in an interview with Hizbullah's al-Manar television network Monday, "The report proves our divine victory came true. The Israeli side was defeated."
"The confrontation between the resistance and the hostile entity proved the weaknesses of those who thought they couldn't be defeated. What happened proves what we said all along – that this enemy can be defeated, and the path of resistance can bring victory."
Moussawi exploited the Winograd report for Hizbullah's political advancement within the Lebanese system, as well as against the moderate Arab regimes which opposed Hizbullah during the war, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon.
"The full report will prove to the 14th of March group (Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Saad al-Hariri and their supporters) and the Arab regimes that this operation was pre-planned. Will the Israeli public manage to topple Olmert's impotent government? We shall wait and see. It has yet to be determined," the Hizbullah official declared.
Like most of the Arab world's leading satellite stations, al-Manar broadcast live the Winograd Commission's press conference in Jerusalem, and didn't hide its pleasure over the conclusions presented in the partial report. The Commission's statements were aired with simultaneous Arabic translation.
Immediately ensuing the press conference, al-Manar opened its news report announcing that the examining committee "has confirmed that the war triumvirate – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz – failed in their management of the war in Lebanon.
"The report clarified that the prime minister's choices led to dangerous failures for Israel, when he made the hasty decision to go to war," the al-Manar newscaster said.
The station's Israeli affairs commentator, Hassan Hijazi, told viewers that "the statement that was read was worse than expected. It included even more severe criticism than was predicted."
Al-Manar has been anticipating the commission's report for days now, and even broadcast a video over the weekend specially produced for the occasion, hinting at an impending resignation by Olmert.
Various Arabic media outlets from around the world were closely following the dramatic unfolding of events in Israel.
"Winograd storm to hit Israel today," read a headline in the Lebanese daily a-Safir Monday morning. "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Israel's ruling gang will stand before a decisive junction today when the Winograd Commission presents its report," the paper's Israel Affairs commentator Halmi Moussa wrote.
"Israel is readying for the Winograd earthquake today," another Hizbullah-affiliated Lebanese newspaper al-Ahbar declared.
Only Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah has yet to issue his comments on the report, although a response is strongly anticipated.