Olmert won’t quit, confidants say

Ehud Olmert has no plan to resign over the final results of an inquiry into the Second Lebanon War, confidants said.

Aides and friends of the Israeli prime minister said Thursday that he had decided to stay in office, despite critics’ calls for him to step down after the Winograd Commission handed in its conclusions.

The report, published Wednesday, censured the Olmert government and top military brass in general for the failings of the 2006 offensive against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, but spared the prime minister direct criticism and even endorsed one of his more controversial wartime decisions.

Olmert has reserved public comment on the report, saying he would study it first. Addressing members of his Kadima Party in Tel Aviv on Thursday, he adopted a circumspect tone.

“This is a thorough and comprehensive report that raises many difficult questions,” officials quoted him as saying. “I embrace the bereaved families and feel their pain. They sacrificed their dearest loved ones, but the sacrifice was not in vain. It was for the security of Israel.”

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