Report: Peretz may quit

Amir Peretz reportedly is considering stepping down as Israel’s defense minister after being censured by a commission of inquiry on the Lebanon war.

Israeli media reported Wednesday morning that Peretz, who along with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has borne the brunt of blame for the war’s failings, could resign “within hours.” The Defense Ministry had no immediate comment.

Resignation could spell a reprieve for Peretz ahead of a May 28 primary in his Labor Party, where he faces serious challenges from Ehud Barak and Ami Ayalon, who both have impressive security resumes. Political pundits have speculated that Peretz could quit, drawing some of the postwar criticism away from Olmert, and in exchange be awarded another Cabinet post such as Treasury.

Peretz, like Olmert, vowed to stay in office after the Winograd Commission of inquiry into last year’s war against Hezbollah issued its interim findings Monday.

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