A number of senior members of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's ruling Kadima party hinted that their leader should resign in light of the severity of an interim report about the handling of last summer's war.
Most Kadima ministers voiced support for their leader's decision not to resign despite being highly criticized for failing to make sound decisions during the war .
"The conclusions are totally clear, the report allows the prime minister to pack up and resign his post," a Kadima official told Ynet. "The Winograd Commission said clearly that if he did no do so it would do so on his behalf in the final report. Therefore he should resign immediately."
The government-appointed Winograd Commission was highly critical of Olmert for taking Israel to war "hastily" and for failing to envision an exit strategy.
Olmert acknowledged the severity of the report but said he would not resign, vowing instead to implement the commission's recommendations.
"The countdown has begun. He is finished … either way he is on his way out," a Kadima minister told Ynet.
Kadima MK Marina Solodkin said Tuesday, “I think Olmert has no choice but to resign. The report determined that he failed; it was unequivocal.”
'Chance to learn from his mistake'
Soon after the report's release, Olmert said he would set up a follow-up committee to implement the recommendations made by the commission.
Olmert will discuss the report on Tuesday with IDF Chief of Staff Lit-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the National Security Council Elan Mizrahi, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann.
Also Tuesday, Olmert will preside over a special cabinet meeting to discuss the report and will attend a debate on the report in the Knesset.
Meanwhile Olmert aides said the Winograd Commission hinted that the prime minister should be given a chance to learn from his mistake.
"A culture that doesn't allow those who err to keep their posts is not a progressive culture," one aide quoted one of the report's footnotes. "It is likely to lose its most experienced individuals in order to allow people who have not made mistakes to repeat mistakes made by others."
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report