April 30, 2007

Winograd Report slams Olmert

The special Winograd Commission setup to evaluate Israel's actions during the 2006 summer war with Hezbollah released its report about half an hour ago. Its main targets were predicted to be Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz. Halutz resigned a while ago and Peretz has said he plans to. The main discussion leading up to the report's release were how much blame it would lay on Olmert--as supposed to just on Peretz and Halutz, who were thought certain to be unable to escape blame--and whether it would be enough to force Olmert's resignation and early elections.Ha'aretz is now reporting after the 5pm press conference that the report accuses Olmert specifically of "serious failure" and goes on to say that he "bears supreme and comprehensive responsibility for the decisions of 'his' government and the operations of the army."Wow. That's pretty striking. I think the chances of seeing a resignation were definitely elevated. If he were to resign, talk is that Kadima #2 Deputy Prime Minister Tzipi Livni and Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu would have to fight it out to be the next Prime Minister.Kadima still holds power in the Knesset, but Bibi Netanyahu has the advantage that he can (and did) start campaigning earlier than Livni could; she is a Kadima party member and can't really announce any intentions until Olmert gives the OK or is truly helpless. Has that time now arrived? Calls for his resignations came from the left and right before the Winograd report and are certain to intensify in the wake of the its findings.UPDATE: Ha'aretz says, "Olmert to Nation: I have no intention of resigning."