Where is Nasrallah's response?
Photo: AP
Winograd Commission final report
Is Olmert here to stay?
Photo: AP
Winograd report elicits elation from Arab world
As expected, Winograd Commission's final report sparks joyous response from people across Arab world as damning evidence of Israeli defeat in Second Lebanon War
Politicians and journalists from across the Arab world embraced the Winograd Commission's final report as indisputable proof of an Israeli defeat in its 34-day confrontation with Hizbullah in the summer of 2006.


Beyond Hizbullah's initial response to the report, which stated that it "once again confirms that Israel was defeated in the war," various Hizbullah members of parliament have joined in on the chorus. 


"The report proves that the resistance won, something that people tried to negate," former Hizbullah Water and Energy Minister Muhammad Fneish said.


"The report confirms that the Israelis failed in the war and that Hizbullah won, and it especially confirms (the success of) the military outlook that (Hizbullah) employed through which it established supremacy on the (battle) field," he said.


Mohammad Khider, another Hizbullah MP, said on the organization's TV station Al-Manar on Wednesday that the report is an Israeli admission that "the resistance dictated the strategy (on the battlefield) to the enemy and caused him to fight according to principles that (Hizbullah) determined. That is an accomplishment."


Khider used the report as an opportunity to call on Lebanon and the whole Arab world to "favor the (military) option rather than establishing ties" with Israel.


Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, claimed in an article that "the most important point in the report is the clear admission that this war was a large failure and dangerous and did not produce any results or gains.


"That is an honest admission of defeat and it’s a response to many. Many writers and commentators who have been on Israel's side purposefully hide the truth because of their blind hatred of the Islamic resistance. (This hatred) caused the ridicule of the enormous achievement which had never been achieved by an Arab nation since the establishment of this country on Palestinian land 60 years ago," Atwan wrote.


No replacement for Olmert

These responses were to be expected. But how do they respond to the fact that the report was quite mild vis-à-vis Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's culpability?


Former Minister Fneish explained in the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar that "the report did not include the placing of personal responsibility in order to restrict the victory of the resistance and to reduce the effects of the defeat upon Israel. Israel is sick of repercussions from the defeat," Fneish said.


Nasser al-Laham, a Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs, was asked on Al- Manar on Wednesday how Olmert was able to maintain a positive atmosphere following the reports' release.


"It stems from two things," he answered. "First, Israeli society has no other leader. They got rid of (former presidents) Moshe Katsav, Ezer Weizman and others and no one else is left except for him. Second, Israeli society can't bear it anymore. After the defeat in Lebanon, Gaza, and the Intifada, Israeli society couldn’t bear another failure."


However, Hizbullah is not hiding their hope that their prophecy that Olmert will be deposed comes true. "The report will continue to embarrass Olmert. It will add to the pressure on him and will cause him to lose the two percent of trust that he still has," said Hizbullah MP Hussein al-Hajj Hassan.


"It will be hard for Olmert to continue in his position especially in wake of the calls for resignation before the release of the report," MK Khider added.


And what about Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah? He still hasn't said anything in response to the report although he will most likely soon emerge to use the report for his own tendentious purposes and add to the voices pointing to it as unassailable proof that Israel was defeated by his organization.


פרסום ראשון: 01.31.08, 18:04
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