Photo: Eli Elgarat
PM Olmert
Photo: Eli Elgarat

They have no alibi

War broke out during Olmert and Peretz's first 100 days in office, before completing their basic training; who could expect a pair of inexperienced citizens to adequately handle a difficult heritage as well as a set of generals' plans?

A commission of inquiry for the recently concluded war may not be established. So far, critical political support necessary for such an eventuality has not been consolidated. But even now, two of the most senior persons likely to be investigated are presenting two main arguments.


Regardless of the fact that the prime minister declared on Sunday at the Knesset that he, and he alone was responsible for the outcome of the war (and he can always claim, and rightly so, that his responsibility is the responsibility of the entire cabinet) - severe accusations directed at two fronts are surfacing around him and around the defense minister; accusations against their predecessors and their subordinates.


Apparently these accusations are not without a factual basis. Since 2000 – during the premierships of Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon - the strengthening of Hizbullah in Lebanon was carried out with much momentum. It's evident that throughout this period, under defense ministers Barak, Ben Eliezer and Mofaz, the IDF was not equipped with adequate means to intercept Katyusha rockets.


Neither is there any doubt that Israel over the past six years did not prepare itself to handle a large civilian population threatened by rocket fire. And of course the consequences show that the chief-of-staff and several of his senior officers could have performed better.


The first 100 days in office


In other words, Olmert and Peretz can argue that they are not the only ones who ought be put on the public prosecutor's bench, and that the punitive cake should be divided amongst themselves and their past and present partners.


Yet there's another argument, albeit somewhat weak: That the war broke out during the first 100 days in office, before they completed their basic training, and who would expect a pair of inexperienced citizens to adequately handle a difficult heritage as well as a set of generals' plans?


The prime minister can by no means justify leaning on untapped strategies. He embarked on a high profile position in March 2003, more than three years ago; after he was assured that he would become Sharon's right arm. Since then, he should have become acquainted with the problems that were exposed in their severity during the last 35 days.


He was a full partner to the previous cabinet's responsibilities, and everything it did and did not accomplish in the political and security arenas (including cuts in the military budget and the appointment of Dan Halutz).


Go home


Amir Peretz is not exactly a kidnapped baby who found himself caught up in a cruel reality. Although he arrived at the defense ministry following the election results, and since coalition negotiations prevented him from taking up the post of finance minister – his real stated quest was to become prime minister.


Therefore, he would have done well to prepare ahead of time for such a challenge. If he hadn't understood these basics, what is he complaining about?


On 12th July, the prime minister and his defense minister were paid a salary for deciding what to do about the current situation i.e. – the IDF as it is, the home front as it is and the Hizbullah as it is.


They should have, within the roles they willingly took upon themselves, have been familiar with this reality and should have planned their moves accordingly, regardless of hypothetical alternatives, or the reasons for which they came about.


According to all indications they failed this difficult test and therefore should go home.


פרסום ראשון: 08.16.06, 23:34
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