Their goal was to help Olmert survive the public protests that were expected to take place in the afternoon, when the report will be published.
With the help of the Kadima movement, quotes by Olmert’s opponents, which show support for the Second Lebanon War, are being complied. Olmert’s aides will use the quotes as ammunition against his opponents when the media war begins.
Opposition SupportOne of the quotes collected by Olmert’s aides appeared in a speech by Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) at the Knesset on 17 July, 2006.
“We mustn’t stop our operations without reaching this goal: ridding southern Lebanon of terror, and moreover, eradicating the threat of long-range missiles that may be positioned outside of southern Lebanon, and that may be a danger to the home front.
“So I say to the prime minister today, and to the entire government: fight them, hit them, and crush them. Do it and we will give you all the backup you need and the entire nation will be with you,” Netanyahu said.
Another quote expected to be used by Olmert’s aides was one by MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), who expressed his support for Olmert’s decisions on Israel’s Channel 1 the day after the war broke out.
“It doesn’t matter if you are part of the government or not, the Likud’s consensus is to support the government; the government is operating correctly right now and we back the government in targeting Lebanese infrastructure,” Erdan said.
MK Danny Yatom (Labor) told Israel’s Channel 2 that he believed Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz were both doing a good job.
“There have been difficult days, but I have been following Peretz and Olmert closely. They have pulled themselves together very nicely, and I completely accept their conduct,” Yatom said.
When asked about this quote on Monday, Yatom said, "Instead of taking responsibility, Olmert was busy with a survival war and creating a new reality. I suggest Olmert should resign rather than squirm."
He added that he had criticized Olmert during the war. "In my bag I hold dozens of quotes in which I harshly criticized the government's actions in real time, behind closed doors, and in the media."
Ophir Akunis, Netanyahu's press spokesman, said that no “spin” could mask Olmert’s failure in conducting the war and defending Israel’s home front.
“For every quote presented by Olmert’s men, dozens of quotes can be presented by Olmert himself, such as, ‘All responsibility for this operation falls on me as prime minister. I have no intention of sharing this responsibility with anyone.’
“Olmert said that right after the war ended on 14 August. We expect Olmert to be true to his words, take responsibility, and resign,” Akunis said.
Other Likud members, as well as members of the National Union-National Religious Party and United Torah Judaism, presented Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik with the required number of signatures to convene a Knesset meeting during its recess.
The Knesset members requested that a special meeting be held during the week regarding the report.
“The Knesset has responsibility and an important role in supervising the government, which refuses to assume responsibility, and the prime minister, which has turned the shift of blame into an art,” said MK Sa’ar.
Amnon Meranda contributed to this story