Syria strike cited in Olmert’s defense


One of Ehud Olmert’s confidants invoked last year’s Israeli airstrike in Syria as proof of the prime minister’s military mettle.

Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon was asked in a Channel 10 television interview shown Wednesday about the government’s decision-making on security issues, a topic of pressing public interest ahead of next week’s publication of an inquiry’s final report on the setbacks of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

“You all heard, from foreign sources, what happened at the beginning of September in Syria,” Ramon said.

“The process of decision-making ahead of the event was, according to everyone involved in it, extraordinary in terms of deliberations, organization, preparation and considering the alternatives.”

Israel issued a blanket gag on descriptions of the Sept. 6 bombing run, forcing local media to rely on foreign reports that suggested the target was a nascent Syrian nuclear reactor.

Though he stopped short of confirming this, Ramon’s remarks – the most expansive by any Israeli official – drew charges that he was exploiting classified information in a bid to boost popular support for Olmert and offset the criticism of the Winograd Commission of inquiry.



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