Mofaz raps Olmert over Lebanon


A senior Israeli Cabinet minister implicitly blamed Ehud Olmert for the failings of the Second Lebanon War.

“The main problem with the war was its confused and faulty management,” Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister, told a conference late Saturday.

“It’s the same military and the same officers who fought in Operation Defensive Shield for years earlier and won,” Mofaz said in reference to a major West Bank counter-terrorist sweep that he supervised as then-chief of Israel’s armed forces.

His remarks come just over two weeks from the publication of a final report by an Israeli commission of inquiry into the war, which is widely expected to stoke calls for Olmert’s resignation as prime minister. Mofaz is one of the senior members of Olmert’s Kadima Party who is being touted as a possible replacement for the prime minister.

The Winograd Commission’s interim report, published last year, faulted Olmert’s handling of the summer 2006 offensive against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas. Olmert has denied wrongdoing and vowed to stay in office.

In an apparent snub of another rival within Kadima, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Mofaz also said Saturday that the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 ending the Second Lebanon War “isn’t worth the paper it’s written on,” as it has not prevented Hezbollah from rearming. Livni was among the truce’s architects.

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