Winograd Report

Established in September 2006, the Winograd Commission made its final report on January 30, 2008 about the management of the war in Lebanon in 2006.

Background

Following the war against Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the Israeli government of Ehud Olmert faced with a wave of criticism concerning its handling of the war. Ehud Olmert himself decided to create a Commission of Inquiry over the actions taken by the government and the army to cope with the events of July-August 2006.

After a few weeks passed on its composition and its implementation, the Commission of Inquiry held its first plenary meeting on September 18, 2006. It was chaired by a former retired judge, Eliyahu Winograd [name by which the Commission will be designated as later].

Intermediary Report

On March 13, 2007, the Commission announced that they will publish an interim report in the second half of April and that will include personal recommendations to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz and Chief of the Israeli army, Dan Haloutz.

A few days before its release, « Channel 2 » already revealed the results. The report ask serious questions about the decisions taken by the three men to manage the war. But it do not demand the resignation.

The intermediary report was finally officially launched on April 30, 2007.

At the end of June, Amir Peretz loses elections internal Labour Party. Ehud Barak replaced him at the head of the party and as Minister of Defence in the government of Ehud Olmert.

Dan Haloutz meanwhile had already resigned on January 17, 2007 following an internal report within the army. Of the three leaders of the Lebanon war of 2006, only Olmert remains in place.

Final Report

The final report was published on January 30, 2008. It is damning concerning the manegement of the war against Lebanon in 2006. According to the results, it is a missed opportunity to finish with Hezbollah. The decisions were taken with no military preparations and lack of judgement.

The attacks were in fact mainly air strikes throughout the war. Only in the last 60 hours, while the ceasefire was already fixed, the heads of government and the General Staff decided a major ground offensive, intended to eliminate positions Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. But reservists were ill-equipped and ill-prepared for such an operation and a dozen of them have lost their lives in the last hours of the war. Concerning Hezbollah, it was still present in the region. Its withdrawal and a redeployment of Lebanese troops in the south were due to subsequent diplomatic arrangements .

Following the publication of the report, the criticism against the government Olmert has become harder. The latter, however, decided to stay in place, hoping to continue its mandate until the end of the legislature in November 2010. But his position does not appear politically tenable.

Reactions

The Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has protested following the publication of the Winograd Report. He stressed that it highlighted the failure of the government and army, not only to underline the government’s mismanagement, but also to improve the conduct of a future war.

The spokesman of Hezbollah, Hussein Rahal, has meanwhile declared that the report confirms what Hezbollah has always said that Israel had completely failed in its objectives, while the Israeli army has suffered a military defeat because of Hezbollah.

The Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has also stated that the publication of the report didn’t forgive the mistakes of the government and that the term « failed war » demonstrated the scope and consequences to be drawn.