Israel won last summer’s war in Lebanon, Ehud Olmert said. The prime minister said in an interview published Friday that the Hezbollah terrorist group suffered severe strategic damage in the 34-day conflict when Israeli forces overran guerrilla strongholds in southern Lebanon. “I have no doubt at all that we won,” Olmert told Ma’ariv. “For eight months, no armed Hezbollah operative has been seen in southern Lebanon. The moment they come out, they are arrested right away,” he added, referring to crackdowns by a boosted U.N. peacekeeper force and regular Lebanese troops. Olmert’s popularity at home has plummeted since an Aug. 14 truce ended the war, amid many Israelis’ perception that national security was compromised by the failure to crush Hezbollah. Despite its massive tactical disadvantages, the Iranian-backed militia managed to fire 4,000 rockets into the Jewish state. Olmert said he saw such setbacks as inevitable. “Has there ever been a war in Israeli history without failures?” he asked.
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