Ben-Eliezer Calls on IDF Chief to Resign
Senior Labor Party official, National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin (Fouad) Ben-Eliezer was among the first to openly praise Adam’s decision to resign from the military, calling on Halutz to follow his lead.
Ben-Eliezer, a retired IDF brigadier-general, called on the IDF chief of staff to make the appropriate move and resign his position as it is becoming increasingly clear he bungled the war in Lebanon. With investigations and news programs beginning to unfold the events of the war, the facts in the case are surfacing. The IDF was unprepared and the decisions from the top brass were not in sync with realities in the field.
Olmert Remains Adamantly Opposed to Independent Inquiry
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is remaining firm in his opposition to the formation of an independent state commission of inquiry, one which Movement for Quality Government (MQG) officials insist must be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice. The head of the commission would then select the members of his panel. MQG rejects attempts by Olmert to legitimize his government-appointed commission whose chairman and members were selected by Olmert himself.
Olmert no longer enjoys the support of his cabinet ministers, with Ministers Peretz, Pines and Mofaz counted among the more vocal proponents of an independent commission.
Halutz, Olmert & Peretz in a Catch 22
Following the resignations of Adam and Central Commander Major-General Yair Naveh earlier in the week, pressure is increasing on Halutz to make the same move.
This pressure will most likely increase once Adam officially turns in his uniform after some three decades of service, a move that will permit him to openly comment on the war, as a civilian and not as a member of the General Staff.
In his letter of resignation, Adam stated he wishes to step down as soon as the last IDF soldier returns from Lebanon but it appears likely he will remain for four, five or even six weeks. While his successor will be selected in the coming days, Adam will most likely remain for a month-to-six weeks to permit a smooth transition.
Adam’s move was expected after Halutz’s vote of no-confidence, sending Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Moshe Kaplinsky to the north during the war, to oversee Northern Command decision-making vis-a-vis the anti-Hizbullah offensive taking place in southern Lebanon.
Halutz, according to a growing number of generals, simply was unsuited for the job, a former air force commander lacking the field experience of an infantry officer. Halutz is the first IDF chief appointed from the ranks of the air force, breaking a long-standing tradition of appointing a supreme commander from the ranks of infantry, usually officers who rose through the chain of command serving in a wide array of command posts.
Peretz & Olmert Targeted by Critics as Well
Both Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are being targeted by critics who continue to demand an independent commission of inquiry as well as both ministers' resignations.
Adam’s resignation makes life increasingly difficult for the three- Halutz, Olmert and Peretz, whose hands are tied from taking action against other senior commanders, since such a move would only boomerang back to them with calls to step down.
Peretz will most likely turn-up the pressure on Halutz, with analysts predicting he will not be in a rush to approve any senior appointments made by the IDF commander. Halutz must now replace Naveh and Adam, but Peretz will move with caution, realizing that Halutz’s appointments may spark renewed criticism regarding his lack of field command experience.
Reshuffle of Command
The leading candidate to replace Adam is Major-General Gadi Eisenkott, who now serves on the General Staff as Chief of Operations. While viewed as a ‘young general,’ Eisenkott has commanded a division of elite reservists as well as serving as the Judea & Samaria Division Commander. Most agree he is more than suited for the job.
As far as Naveh, there are a number of possibilities including Major-General Gershon (Jerry) Yitzchak, now serving as Homefront Commander.
The two senior General Staff vacancies will also result in a reshuffle of command appointments and the promotion of a number of younger brigadier-generals to the rank of major-general.
Pessimistic Intelligence Report
The next General Staff will have to contend with a pessimistic military intelligence report. The annual report is being completed by Chief of Intelligence Major-General Amos Yedlin, who warns that the coming year, 2007, will bring increased warfare on Israel’s northern border.
Yedlin warns that Syria may use terrorists to renew conflict in the Golan Heights, a border that has remained quiet for most of 30 years. This may be accomplished by using terrorists, and not Syrian army forces, as was the case in the recent war in Lebanon which began following a multi-pronged Hizbullah attack.
Yedlin’s staff warns there will be global jihad activities directed against Israel, including al-Qaeda affiliates seeking to strike at Israel, and/or a major Israeli target abroad.
Military intelligence is also predicting increased conflict between Iran and the west in the coming year, which the report cautiously warns may result in missiles fired at Israel by Tehran in response to an attack against Iran by the United States or by a western alliance.
Last year’s annual intelligence report did not predict the escalation of warfare along the northern border or the war in Lebanon that resulted from the major Hizbullah assault.