Winograd, le couperet est tombé
30 avril 2007 - Jérémy Devray-Bénichou | Infolive.tv
Comme les premières fuites publiées samedi dans la presse israélienne le laissaient suggérer, la commission Winograd a porté de graves accusations contre le Premier ministre, le ministre de la Défense et l’ancien chef d’état-major dans leur gestion du conflit contre le Hezbollah cet été. Dans un exposé bref et cinglant d’une vingtaine de minutes, le panel d’experts de la commission a enchaîné les mises en accusation, dénonçant les graves défaillances d’Olmert, l’inexpérience de Peretz et l’impulsivité de Haloutz.
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Principale cible des conclusions préliminaires de la commission, le Premier ministre Ehoud Olmert est dénoncé pour ses "graves défaillances" dans son appréciation de la situation et ses erreurs de jugement dans sa décision d’entrer en guerre contre le Hezbollah l’été dernier. De ce fait, la commission Winograd impute la "responsabilité suprême et entière" des défaillances du gouvernement au chef du gouvernement.
Dans son exposé résumant les principaux points d’un rapport de plus d’une centaine de pages, les experts s’en son également pris au manque "d’expérience, de connaissance et de recul" du ministre de la Défense Amir Peretz dans sa gestion du dossier. Sa prise de décision était précipitée et ses erreurs ont eu une influence majeure sur les dysfonctionnements rencontrés dans la conduite des opérations, précise le rapport préliminaire de la commission Winograd. Amir Peretz ignorait l’état exact de l’armée et des unités souligne le rapport qui conclut que "le ministre de la Défense a échoué dans l’exercice de ses fonctions" et contribué à affaiblir le gouvernement.
Dernière cible d’un rapport aux accents de dyatribe, l’ancien chef d’état major Dan Haloutz, chef des armées pendant le conflit. Le jugement est sans appel : "Dan Haloutz a échoué dans sa mission". Ses actions ont été "impulsives". Haloutz a lancé l’armée dans une guerre sans préparation et sans en informer le gouvernement et pour ces raisons, la commission conclut qu’il doit être tenu comme "personnellement responsable" des ratés de cet été.
Les conséquences de ce rapport sont pour le moment peu claires. Si la presse israélienne prédisait ce matin un véritable séisme politique, l’heure est pour le moment à l’immobilisme alors que les proches d’Olmert précisent que ce dernier n’a pas l’intention de démissionner dans un avenir proche.
Au sein du parti Kadima, les rumeurs d’un remplacement d’Olmert par Tsipi Livni vont bon train, même si les proches de la ministre des Affaires étrangères démentaient cet après-midi l’information.
Du côté de l’opinion publique, les critiques nées au lendemain du conflit refont surface et se font de plus en plus acerbes. De plus en plus de voix se font entendre appelant à la démission immédiate d’Ehoud Olmert et d’Amir Peretz. Ce jeudi, une manifestation anti-gouvernement est prévue dans les rues de Tel-Aviv.
Olmert, Peretz, Halutz failed in their roles, war report says
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert failed 'severely' in exercising good judgment, responsibility, and caution with regards to his conduct of Second Lebanon War; Peretz and Halutz also sharply criticized
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz all failed in their roles during the Second Lebanon War, Judge Eliyahu Winograd said at a press conference in which he presented his report into the war's failings.
The retired judge said the prime minister "formulated his stance without a second thought, without being presented with a detailed military plan, without considering the complex conditions of fighting in Lebanon.
There was no organized consultation with others, mainly outside of army, despite his lack of diplomatic and military experience," Winograd said.
"The prime minister is responsible for failing to clearly set out the aims of the war, and for there not being a clear definition of aims of war and ways to achieve them. The war's aims were ambitious, and could not be reached. They were not within reach. All of these factors come together to form a serious failure of judgment, responsibility, and caution," he added.
"The decision to go forward with a harsh, immediate military response was not taken on the basis of a well-planned strategy," Winograd said.
"The IDF's response would result in massive fire on the home front, which the IDF didn't have an answer to. There was no information on the state of the army, despite the need for such information," he continued.
"The IDF didn't show creativity in making options available," Winograd said. "It didn't demand that reserves be called up, which would have allowed them to be trained and equipped ahead of a needed ground operation.
"The main responsibility for these severe failures are placed on the prime minister, the defense minister, and the former chief of staff. Had they acted differently, the results would have been different," Winograd said.
Turning to Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Winograd said: "He has no knowledge or experience on diplomatic, military, government affairs.
He has no knowledge on the use of the military as tool to achieve goals. Nevertheless, he took decisions without consultation, and didn't give enough weight to contrary views. He failed to fulfil his role, and he didn't act out on the basis of a strategic plan."
Winograd delivers report to Olmert (Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO)
Winograd continued: "He didn't demand or examine the army's plans. He didn't check the methods of the IDF, its plans, and its set targets.
Addressing the performance of former chief of staff Dan Halutz, Winograd stated: "His personal involvement in government decisions was dominant. He was not ready for the kidnapping. He acted impulsively."
"The chief of staff's culpability is made more severe in light of the fact that he knew that the prime minister and the defense minister had no experience, and his claim that the army was ready and had plan. He had no real answer to the doubts raised over the plan, and didn't present any to the political leadership. In all these areas, the chief of staff failed to fulfil his role, and he did not act with responsibility, good judgement, and professionalism."
Winograd added that "many others" shared responsibility for the severe failures he highlighted, and turned his attention to previous Israeli governments which allowed Hizbullah to set up base on Israel's border.
"The complexity of Lebanese arena is not under Israeli control. The ability of Hizbullah to sit on the border, and dictate the level of escalation, was made possible by the 2000 retreat of the IDF from southern Lebanon. IDF commanders and political leaders are responsible for internal IDF failures before the prime minister and the defense minister came in," he said.
Winograd also laid blame at the remainder of the government for its "support for an immediate response out of unjustified faith in the decision makers."
"For 25 years, there hasn't been a war. The IDF was not ready for war, for a number of reasons, among them being that the political and military leaders decided that the age of wars has ended, and that the IDF had enough deterrence power and ability to deliver painful reminders to those who didn't know that," Winograd said.
"The challenges of ground forces were thought to remain in dealing with ongoing low intensity clashes. According to such view, there is no need to prepare for war or update Israel's general defense approach. We believe that we must look beyond the decision making failures, at these issues which form central questions, raised by the Lebanon War," he added.
"These are the questions standing at the heart of our existence as a Jewish and democratic state," Winograd continued.
| First Published: || 04.30.07, 17:20 |