The army was aware from the onset of last summer's war in Lebanon that a military operation against Hizbullah would not secure the release of two soldiers kidnapped in a cross-border attack, a senior general said Wednesday, contradicting past claims by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Northern Command chief Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, who was the head of the Operations Directorate during the war, said that the army presented the government with a plan to weaken Hizbullah and never suggested that the soldiers could be freed.
"It was clear that clear that a military operation would not bring them back," Eizenkot said.
Eizenkot's words are in sharp contrast with Olmert's pledge last summer in a key speech at the Knesset that the aim of the military operation against Hizbullah was to secure the release of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.
Eizenkot's remarks came during an address at the school attended by Goldwasser in his northern hometown of Nahariya.
He added that before the July 12 attack the army possessed no specific warnings that Hizbullah was planning to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
Eizenkot also revealed that the army's plan outlined a 6-day operation aimed at destroying Hizbullah's posts in south Lebanon and partially damaging Lebanon's infrastructure to pressure the Lebanese government to deploy the army in the south.