The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, resigned after months of criticism over his leadership of the military performance in last summer’s inconclusive war in Lebanon.
Halutz's decision, announced early Wednesday, increased pressure on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz who have also been criticized for their roles in the war.
Both Olmert and Peretz expressed “deep sorrow” for Halutz's decision. Senior military officers, however, welcomed Halutz's decision, saying it was necessary, especially with recent wartime findings. Since the war in Lebanon ended, Halutz been criticized by fellow commanders and politicians who’ve called for his resignation, blaming him for the disappointing results in the war against Hizballah.
In his letter to Olmert and Peretz, Halutz said he felt a responsibility to remain in his position until internal probes of military performance during the war were complete. He also said he has faith in the Israel Defense Forces’ capability of dealing with threats and protecting the country.
“The IDF is a very moral army, such as there is none other like it. Its heritage is replete with pages of bravery stained with the blood of the sons and daughters of the country who have fallen along the way. Their memories will accompany us always,” he wrote.
“I am confident in the IDF, its soldiers, and commanders, and that the military will be able to keep performing successfully all missions as they arrive,” Halutz told the general staff.
Halutz said he has no intention to “take [his] stuff and leave in a rush,” but will remain in his post until a new chief of staff is chosen.