Peres backs Olmert over war



Shimon Peres hinted that he supports Ehud Olmert’s refusal to resign over the Second Lebanon War.


The Israeli president was asked in an interview Thursday whether Olmert should step down as prime minister when the Winograd Commission of inquiry into the 2006 war hands in its final report.


“The prime minister is a symbol of stability, not of mood,” Peres told Israel Radio. “I believe the prime minister has learned his lessons.”


Peres said Israel was right to go to war after Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas abducted two soldiers in a July 12, 2006 border raid. But he faulted Olmert for publicly setting “unrealistic” goals for the campaign such as recovering the hostages and crushing Hezbollah.


Olmert’s approval ratings plummeted after the war but he has vowed to see out his term in office.


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