Olmert VS. Hamevaker

The fall-out generated by the presentation of the State Comptrollers report dealing with last summer’s Lebanese war, has resulted in an even greater rift between the State Comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The report noted that both the Prime Minister and top IDF generals committed a number of failures during the 34 day war; and went into detail on how the home front was completely unprepared for such a conflict, while the government pre-occupied itself in waging a major air and sea campaign against most of Lebanon. The result was that over a million of Israel’s population were subjected to outright panic and undue suffering while the government appeared unable to properly assist them.

Without a proper plan regarding the home front, which became the war’s “front line”, the majority of assistance came from the Israeli public themselves, including private donors. The resulting shambles of public policies, showed everyone how prepared the country was to endure this kind of conflict.

Despite the Comptroller’s findings, Olmert and his government still refuse to admit that they failed; and even accuse Mr. Lindenstrauss and his staff of trying to make the government look bad for their own personal reasons. In fact, the government’s unwillingness to accept blame and to act on the report’s recommendations – as distasteful as they may be – indicates a political leadership who appear to have little regard to the feelings of the country’s population. That a gathering of over 150,000 people in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, plus groups of reserve soldiers protesting in front of the Knesset did not result in Olmert’s resignation only means that he and his cronies in the Kadima Party are intent on doing anything possible to enable them to stay in power.

Meanwhile, a number of Knesset members from outside of Kadima’s sphere of influence are calling for immediate implementation of the report’s recommendations
Which include a plan to be made up to handle the immediate evacuation of civilians from high risk areas, and to insure that ‘absorption areas’ are capable of handling an emergency situation without needed assistance from wealthy private benefactors.

Talk of creating a special investigative committee to probe deeper into the State Comptroller’s findings is also in the works among a number of Knesset members including NRP Knesset member Zvulun Orlev and Labor Party parliamentarian Shelly Yachimovich who feel that the report’s findings indicate “disgraceful failures by the government towards its citizens”.

Though the findings of the Winograd Committee resulted in the eventual resignation of former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and the voting out of office of Defense Minister Amir Peretz in recent Labor Party primaries, it’s anybody’s guess what will be the final outcome of Lindenstrauss’s findings; some of which are even more scathing than in the Winograd Report. Olmert and his immediate following appear unwilling to admit that things went terribly wrong during last summer’s conflict; and that needed recommendations appear to be implemented too slowly by the government – if at all. Until now the general public has acted with amazing restraint, considering all that has transpired. The question now is how much longer can things continue as they are, especially with threats of another, even more terrible conflict continuously present. Israel needs better leadership at the helm; and we can only wonder who is capable of doing this.

Moshik shows Olmert preparing the war against the State Comptroller: “This time we are going to war ready..”