Minister Herzog
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Herzog: Israel lucky war broke out in 2006

Social Affairs Minister says Hizbullah will have had more sophisticated weapons, including WMDs, in few years

Israel was lucky the war with Hizbullah broke out last summer because had it occurred in the distant future, the Shiite organization would have had more sophisticated weapons, Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog told the commission that investigated the war.


According to copies of Herzog's testimony released Thursday, the minister told the Winograd commission of inquiry that had the war taken place three to four years from now, it was very likely Hizbullah would have had weapons of mass destruction.


"I say we may be very lucky, despite the pain, that this war is taking place now and not in three or four years from now," Herzog said.


'Army did not achieve all the wanted results'

The minister added that the war offered Israel the opportunity to fix its failures and weaknesses.


"Looking at the time scale, had we not been aware of our weakness and had Hizbullah acquired upgraded weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, we were lucky that what happened happened now because at the end of the day who knows where we would have been three to four years from now," the minister said.


Herzog also said that the war achieved some important goals although it failed to "knock out" Hizbullah.


"The feeling was that the army did not achieve all the wanted results," the minister said, adding that the IDF had failed to stem rocket fire towards Israel from certain Hizbullah posts that were repeatedly bombarded by the air force.


The minister said the air force's raid on the civilian building in Kfar Kana hampered Israel's military plans due to international outcry at the large number of civilians who died in the raid.


Herzog said that senior air force commanders reassured the government throughout the war that the air force was dealing with Hizbullah's complex web of rocket launchers. He hinted that the air force should have admitted to the cabinet that it was not able to halt the rocket fire and that a large-scale ground operation was needed.


"They never said: I don't have a solution for that problem," Herzog told the commission.


Aviram Zino contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 07.19.07, 14:09
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