Israeli inquiry blasts Olmert for 'intolerable' failures in Lebanon war

(Gold9472: They shouldn't have even gone to war to begin with.)

07/18/07 11:29 am (GMT)

JERUSALEM (Thomson Financial) - Israel's latest inquiry into last year's war in Lebanon today blasted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for "intolerable" failures in protecting civilians during the conflict.

The report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said that Olmert, along with government and army top brass "failed severely in the decision-making process, their assessment and their treatment of the home front during the Lebanon war."

"The severe failures, unfortunately, reached intolerable levels," it said.

Aside from Olmert, Lindenstrauss blamed former defence minister Amir Peretz, former army chief Dan Halutz and home front commander Yitzhak Gershon.

The 582-page report by Israel's government watchdog was the latest to criticise Olmert, the government and the army for their handling of the 34-day war against Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.

It comes two and a half months after an interim report by the Winograd government inquiry into the war, which blasted Olmert for "serious failure," and Peretz and Halutz for failing in their duties.

Halutz resigned from his post in January, while Peretz lost his job after he was ousted as leader of the Labour party in June. Olmert, however, has resisted calls to resign.

The Winograd commission is due to publish its final findings later this year.

Israel launched the war against Hezbollah on July 12, 2006, after two soldiers were seized and three killed during a cross-border raid into Israeli territory by the Shiite militants.

The war, which ended under a UN-brokered ceasefire on Aug 14, is widely considered a failure here because it did not achieve its main objectives of freeing the two servicemen, who are believed to remain captive, or of stopping Hezbollah rocket fire.

The conflict killed 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.