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Both Israel's Prime Minister Olmert & Hezbollah's Sheik Nasrallah Claim Victory

Olmert: 'We Will Have To Examine Ourselves At All Levels'

Opposition Leader Benyamin Netanyahu: 'It Must Be Said Honestly That There Were Many Failures'

In the wake of the Hezbollah war, the state of Israel now has much soul-searching to do.

PM Ehud Olmert

Has the Israeli-Hezbollah war ended in 'a tie and a timeout'? That may be the most accurate assessment as the cease-fire enters its second day.

Both Prime Minister Olmert and Hezbollah leader Nasrallah have claimed victory in the war. Olmert declared that in every encounter, the IDF got the upper hand. But from his hidden bunker, Nasrallah declared: Hezbollah has won an historic and strategic victory for Lebanon. The truth may be found somewhere in between. So says Labor MK Ephraim Sneh, a retired Brigadier-General who served in Lebanon:  

Speaking in the Knesset, Olmert declared that Israel would pursue Nasrallah and the other Hezbollah leaders. He said: They will not go Scot-free. Well hunt them down everywhere for all time. This is our moral duty and we will not apologize or ask anyones permission. But as for Israels conduct of the war Olmert added: We must examine ourselves at all levels. I bear the ultimate responsibility.

The Prime Minister was heckled several times by opposition members from the right and the left. Zahava Gallon of Meretz shouted:Resign!

And Arie Eldad of the National Union compared Olmert at he start and after the war:

Cabinet Minister Yitzhak Herzog believes chances are fair for cease-fire resolution 1701.

Opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu called Hezbollah an agent of Iranian President Ahmadinejad who posed the greatest threat since Adolph Hitler. He had publicly declared his intention to wipe the Jewish state off the map and was developing nuclear weapons to so. In the meantime, Iran and Syria were activating Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the south.

Netanyahu continued acting as a loyal opposition' in time of war. Although not attacking Olmert personally he did say: 'In all honesty we must say there were many failures: in identifying the enemy, preparing for the threat, and the conduct of the war and the home front. He concluded that the war in Lebanon had proved that the concept of unilateral withdrawal had totally collapsed. The IDF withdrew from all Lebanese territory more than six years ago.

And this footnote: The Maariv newspaper reported that on the day that just hours after Hezbollah carried out the cross border raid that killed eight IDF soldiers and abducted two others, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz had instructed his bank to sell off all his stock shares. General Halutz is reported as saying that he had no idea that a war would then break out. The story has aroused consternation and sharp criticism. One legal commentator says the Chief of Staff may be guilty of exploiting inside information. Aside from the ethical aspect, what would have been the impact on the stock market? It would have triggered a huge sell-off crippling the Israeli economy. Israeli society has much soul-searching to do in the wake of the Hezbollah war.

David Essing

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