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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

'Now Peretz and Olmert must go'

'Now Peretz and Olmert must go'

Politicians from the left, right, and center said Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz's sudden resignation provided an opportunity for much-needed rehabilitation within the IDF following the unsatisfactory results of the summer's fighting with Hizbullah.

Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) said the resignation of Halutz was "part of an inevitable process," and expressed hope that it was "the first step in remedying the crisis of confidence facing the the army and the defense establishment, and an opportunity to build from anew the IDF's deterrence."

MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP) said that it was a "shame that [Halutz] wasted four precious months needed to rehabilitate the IDF."

"Now, [Defense Minister] Amir Peretz and [Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert have to go, because the entire country, and not just the IDF, needs to be purified."


Gilad Arden (Likud) said the defense minister and the prime minister should be excluded from this rebuilding process, and that Halutz's replacements should be chosen by a panel of experts appointed by the Knesset.

"Olmert's and Peretz's understanding of national security is close to nil, and their input on the selection of the next chief of staff, at this point, would likely be based on political calculations."

Knesset Member Zeheva Gal-On (Meretz) concurred: "the prime minister and defense minister lack the ethical validity to appoint the next chief of staff [because] the responsibility for the failures of the Second Lebanon War can not be attributed solely to the military's upper echelons, but must also to the politicians that made irresponsible decisions during the fighting."

"In a framework where there are so many problems from top to bottom, at the end of the day responsibility lies with the individual at the top of the pyramid, just as in any other profession,'reservist protest leader Roni Tzvangenboim said of Halutz's resignation.

However, Tzvangenboim said the sudden resignation signinified only a partial realization of the movement's goals and that the struggle would continue.

"I don't sleep at night for fear of the next
war. We are not interested in right or left, we are sick of politics, scandals, and failures. We need a complete overhaul from the leadership in the last war, period," Tzvangenboim said.

The protest movement of the families echoed his sentiments, saying that Halutz's resignation was only the first goal in battle to have those responsible for the war's failures be held accountable.

"158 deaths should have been good enough reasons for the chief of general staff, defense minister, and the prime minister to resign," the families said in a statement.

"We call on the Prime Minister to give the bereaved families, and to the Israeli nation, a chance to recover from his leadership."

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