Excerpts from Knesset panel findings on Second Lebanon War
Excerpts from the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee, which released on Monday its findings from its investigation into the conduct of the 2006 Second Lebanon War:
"The IDF's operational method correlated actually with Hezbollah's strategy. This strategy was based on the avoidance of decisive front-line battles in great extents. The IDF played into Hezbollah's hands, were seized by blindness, and lent strength to the enemy's [strategic and tactical] logic... the war clearly reflected the IDF's assimilation and implementation of its warfare patterns in its battle against terror in Judea and Samaria and Gaza, which don't suit the south Lebanon front. The use of houses as refuge for infantry forces turned them into death traps for anti-tank missiles."
"Locating Katyusha rockets from the air was a nearly impossible mission, and neutralizing them could not be accomplished solely from the air. Despite this, no comprehensive ground offensive was conducted until the end of the war. Except for the operation to destroy Hezbollah infrastructure close to the border, an assortment of small actions were carried out, without decisive impact - restricted, without a shared purpose. The IDF failed in reaching its main operative goal in the war - combating Katushya rocket firing"
"The avoidance of carrying out a necessary ground operation to halt the Katushya rocket firing reflected a lack of understanding of the strategic meaning of the failure to halt the barrage of Katushya rockets. The main measure used to judge the extent of the war's success is the balance of the Katushya rocket firing. Minimizing the rocket firing would have reversed the victory status decisively to Israel's side."
"As noted by the IDF Chief of Staff and many other officers, in every confrontation between IDF soldiers with Hezbollah militants, the IDF was superior. From everything said until now, it is certain that a wide-spread action south of the Litani would have ended with different results. It can be assumed that the public would have reconciled with the 'price' of wounded soldiers during a ground operative, taking into account the strategic and military accomplishment that could have been achieved."
"The operative significance of the policy was paralyzing the army on the tactical level. The arrangement of forces was depleted and army patrols were withdrawn. Hezbollah's proximity to the fence, the IDF's operative stamina in the region and its incomplete deployment of technological means created a situation in which the kidnapping was only a matter of time."
"The committee warns of a repetition of a situation in which a legitimate, strategic state decision by the state level, such as a policy of containment, brings the army to a state of paralysis and slackness in the tactical and operative levels... the army is required to clarify to the decision makers the actual meanings of their orders with regards to the forces' ability and the condition of the enemy... in the years of this policy of containment, the government never held a hearing dealing with the consequences of this policy with regards to the northern border."
"The necessary conclusion from the IDF exercise 'Combining Arms' that was held just before the war was the need to carry out a ground operation in order to thwart the Katushya rocket fire... the lack of an approved and updated offensive plan, and in any case, the wide gaps in preparing the forces, the means, and the headquarters, are a grievous blunder of the Northern Command and the IDF General Staff. The failure is especially severe in light of the fact that a rapid escalation on the Lebanon front was highly probable."
"The IDF acted immediately in attacking targets from the air, but wasted much valuable time in its deployment [and in its entry] of ground forces. The beginning of the military offensive as an 'operation' and thereafter as a 'war', shows the lack of clarity in defining a military offensive and its goal- the adherence to the approach of 'pressure levers' and generating indirect effects (firing from a distance without a ground offensive, in light of the inability to remove the rocket threat bores witness to freezing of thinking and an elementary failure to read the battle map."
"The third stage of the war - from July 27th and until the end of at war on August 14th - was characterized by indecisive hesitancy and even skepticism of the ground forces' ability to complete the mission in south Lebanon, at the state level and at the military level. The missions of the offensive - the necessary strike on Hezbollah and the halt of rocket fire towards Israel - were not completed. Nonetheless, the wide ground offensive in south Lebanon provoked the change in the [UN] Security Council's decision."
"The management of the Lebanon war illustrates a deviation and a failure to implement the basic principles of Israel's security doctrine."
"The threat on the home front was not eliminated and the length of the war was not shortened."
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