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IDF Reservists, Protestors: ´Olmert, Peretz, Livni ? Resign!´

A group of 500 reservists and supporters called for the top three officials in the government to resign during a protest held outside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Jerusalem office Tuesday night.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 8/23/2006, 2:17 PM / Last Update: 8/22/2006, 11:56 PM

With reservists protesting outside the Knesset, and politicians in the opposition and even many from Olmert’s coalition calling for a comprehensive investigation into the management of the war, the continuing special session of the Knesset began to address the issues faced by reservists both during the war and after.

IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Kaplinski addressed the special Knesset session on the current status of reservists and those who were released after their stint in Lebanon, as well as the issue of the reservists who were called up to Lebanon on emergency orders. He acknowledged that there were failures.

He told the reservists’ lobby at the Knesset, "We succeeded in correcting many of the errors [that became evident in the early days of the war], but it remains to be determined if we are moving in the right direction. We have a step-by-step plan to return to preparedness and we are now beginning the process of returning to fitness."

A daily demonstration by a group from Haifa is slated to begin Wednesday near the central bus station in Jerusalem under the banner, “Olmert must resign immediately." Supporters are being handed petitions to sign demanding the Prime Minister's resignation.

Another protest is scheduled for this coming Friday and is to be led by the family of Sgt. Refanael Muskal who was killed in southern Lebanon a month ago. Marchers will present Olmert with a letter demanding his resignation at the end of the demonstration.

“The leadership failed and it must go,” said Riva Muskal, mother of the fallen soldier. “We don’t need public inquiries to tell us that.”

Still another march is scheduled for this coming Sunday, August 27th at 10:00 a.m. Marchers will start off from Rabin Square in Tel Aviv and walk to Jerusalem, ending their march across from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz were not spared criticism, as the ranks of protestors demanding the resignation of all three top government officials continue to swell. Reservists are lining up to join demonstrations together with dead soldiers’ grieving families and other civilians, some of whom lost homes or other property destroyed by Katyusha rocket fire.

A group of 20 reservists supported by the bereaved families of soldiers who fell in the war marched on Monday in protest of the government’s mismanagement of the war, beginning at the entrance to Jerusalem and ending at the Prime Minister’s Office, where they called for the resignation of the Prime Minister and Defense Minister Peretz. They then moved to the Rose Garden later in the evening.

Some 150 demonstrators crowded Rabin Square in Tel Aviv last week to demand that the political leaders responsible for managing the military operations step down.