Olmert Acknowledges War’s ‘Deficiencies’
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert acknowledged deficiencies in the conduct of the war with Hezbollah.
Israeli soldiers killed six Hezbollah fighters in four skirmishes in Lebanon after the U.N.-imposed cease-fire took effect Monday, the army said. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he took sole responsibility for the offensive, and acknowledged “deficiencies” in the way the war was conducted. The developments came as Lebanese civilians defied an Israeli travel ban and streamed back to their homes in war-ravaged areas.
In an address to parliament, Olmert said the cease-fire agreement eliminated the “state within a state” run by Hezbollah and restored Lebanon’s sovereignty in the south. And Defense minister Amir Peretz said the war opened a window for negotiations with Lebanon and renewed talks with Palestinians. But many Israelis were upset by the high casualties during 34 days of fighting, and Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the opposition Likud Party, told lawmakers there were many failures in the war. Olmert said: “We will have to review ourselves in all the battles,” Olmert said. “We won’t sweep things under the carpet.” Anticipating that another war with Hezbollah may come in the future, he said Israel will learn the lessons of this war and “do better.”
“Deficiencies,” sadly, are part and parcel of even the most successful wars. Unfortunately, however, Olmert is deluding himself if he thinks he has actually eliminated Hezbollah as a “state within a state” in the south of Lebanon. Indeed, the war almost certainly increased Hezbollah’s power in the entirety of the country.