Photo: Ofer Amram

I acted out of patriotism, Peretz says

In first response to release of Winograd protocols, defense minister declares he fulfilled his duty during war with faith and love for Israel. Says Labor will ask to replace defense portfolio with finance portfolio after primaries

"I fulfilled my duty out of faith, out of patriotism, out of love for the people and for the country, and I'm sure every citizen in Israel feels this," Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Thursday, in a first response after the release of the Winograd protocols.


According to the protocols, Peretz told the Winograd Commission that he was unaware of any acute problems in the army when he decided to go war.


Speaking at a Labor party meeting, Peretz stressed that even before the publication of the Winograd Commission's partial report on the war, he suggested that the party demand to receive the finance portfolio, instead of the defense portfolio, after a chairman is elected in the coming primaries.


"I hereby declare unequivocally that whatever the outcome (in the primaries), I intend to stay here with my supporters. I hope that the other candidates will also announce that they plan to accept the movement's decision, whatever it may be," he stated.


No plans to quit government  

Referring to his relationship with Olmert, Peretz said, "Everybody is aware of the differences in our worldviews…however, I suggest that people avoid populism and not interfere with other party's decisions, because this may lead to undermining other democratic processes."


Peretz said he opposed the notion that the Labor Party should quit the government. "I believe that there are too many important issues at stake," he stated.


According to the Labor chairman, after the primaries the party should hold new negotiations with Kadima over the government's political and socioeconomic principles. "I think that one of the greatest failures of this government, which we are a part of, is that the realignment plan that was presented before the elections no longer exists," Peretz said.


Peretz blamed cutbacks

In his testimony to the Winograd Commission, Peretz said, "On July 12 (the first day of the war), I was not presented with a situation that the army had not trained enough or that there was any problem with the army's preparedness."


Peretz also testified that he had repeatedly suggested to call in the reserves in the first two weeks of the war, but that his offer was rejected by both the prime minister and the army chief.


The defense minister also blamed the cutbacks to his ministry's budget prior to the war for the IDF's shortcomings.


פרסום ראשון: 05.10.07, 18:30
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