Polls show that Prime Minister Olmert’s approval ratings have dropped
to 22 percent, from 48 percent six weeks ago. Defense Minister Amir
Peretz is in trouble with a 14 percent approval rating, from 37 percent
six weeks ago. The survey, conducted under the supervision of
Professor Camille Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, also concluded that
Olmert’s Kadima party would loose 13 seats if elections were held now,
placing Likud firmly in the lead.
Previous leaders such as former chief of staff Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon and former defense minister Shaul Mofaz commented last week on the failure of the three men to achieve their goals in Lebanon. Ya’alon called for their resignation, insisting that neither Halutz nor Peretz are qualified for their jobs, and Olmert is to blame for appointing them to sensitive positions they are incapable of fulfilling. These three factors, along with Olmert’s submission to what Ya’alon called “corrupt spin,” referring to the ground operation at the end of the war in which 33 soldiers died, resulted in a complete disaster.
Mofaz, convinced he could have done the job better, agrees with Ya’alon, saying in a closed meeting, "A commission of inquiry should examine the government and the statesmen." Ultimately, Mofaz believes that Olmert messed up.
The Israeli Prime Minister assured his critics that he had done everything right in Lebanon and defended his appointment of Peretz as Defense Minister, saying that political constraints led him to make the decision. He dismissed their harsh criticism as a politician’s strategy to take points from his opponents, thereby boosting his own standing, in hopes of ousting those in power, namely himself, Peretz and Halutz. Olmert told Haaretz that "a large portion of the protest" against him was "organized, financed, and supported by political entities.” Olmert called Ya’alon’s accusations “foolishness” and emphasized that both Ya’alon and Mofaz would have been unable to conduct such a “complex international political campaign.”
In an interview with Haaretz, Olmert also rejected statements claimed to have been made by Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin that Israel’s goals had been achieved just after a week into the war.
Retreating from southern Lebanon earlier than they had would not have been possible, according to Olmert, citing the Qana massacre as the event that prevented Israeli soldiers from doing so. "Under no circumstances did the military make the statement that, from the perspective of attaining military goals, we could stop,” Olmert told Haaretz.
These comments are similar to those made by Mofaz two weeks ago in a closed meeting, during which he said, "If we would have hit Hizbullah infrastructures hard, it could have ended in ten days or less, but this did not happen."