Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Dan Hallutz, admitted on Tuesday that
Israel failed in achieving its objectives in its war against Hezbollah,
but rejected calls to resign as a result of these failures.
In a press conference that summarized the military probe into the war, Halutz said that he chose to take responsibility for the failure, adding that “unlike others I did not escape and decided to take responsibly and stand up to the inquiry”, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
Halutz is under pressure to resign as a result of the shortcomings of the Israeli war against Lebanon.
He added that many officials would like to see him stepping down, but a resignation right now “would be considered running away”.
“If I hear a superior call for me to resign, I will respond”, Halutz stated.
Halutz said that the 34-day war against the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party had inflicted “considerable damage to Hezbollah”, and that hundreds of Hezbollah fighters were killed.
He admitted that the army failed in reducing the short-range rocket fire on northern Israel until the cease-fire agreement was reached.
He also said that Hezbollah gunmen fired at least 4000 rockets at Israel during the war, and that Israel “pounded Lebanon with air strikes at Hezbollah targets and infrastructure, and ground forces swept through south Lebanon”.
"We attacked the Katyushas [rockets], but unsuccessfully," Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
Halutz added that Israel committed a mistake when it declared that the goal of the war is to free the two soldiers captured by Hezbollah fighters in a cross-border raid. The war ended and the soldiers were never retrieved.
Halutz also said that reserve soldiers would be called up for longer service periods in order to receive better military training.
The Israeli government appointed a committee to inquiry the war, but the committee is still in the midst of the investigation and did not yet call for any resignations.
Halutz said that if the committee requests him to resign then he will comply with the decision.
Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, also said that he will resign if he is asked to do so.
The war ended on August 14 after the United Nations Security Council issued a resolution that posted a peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon to control the area and keep it clear of any armed forces.
At least 1400 Lebanese were killed during the war, the majority of the casualties were civilians, and about one-third of them were children. Israel claims that 600 of the killed were Hezbollah fighters.