Halutz under fire at reservist meeting
Chief of Staff Dan Halutz was yesterday subjected to the harshest criticism he has encountered since the end of the fighting in Lebanon last month. The army's handling of the confrontation was roundly blasted at a meeting convened by Halutz with dozens of reserve generals at the Israel Defense Forces base at Tzrifin. The gap between the manner in which the chief of staff portrayed the war and the way the reservists saw it, in the words of one participant, "diametrically opposed." That said, many of the participants said that Halutz appeared to listen intently to the criticism leveled against him.
The five-hour meeting was held at the IDF base at Tzrifin, near Ramle. Some two dozen participants registered to have their say, but because of the stormy nature of the meeting, only half of them were actually able to take the stand. Halutz himself spoke for over an hour.
The participants were highly critical of the General Staff's performance during the conflict, although none of them expressly called for Halutz's resignation. Former Air Force officer Ran Goren told the chief of staff, "You must take responsibility for what happened. I do not believe you should resign, but you must accept responsibility for the mistakes and mishaps."
Among the senior former officers who addressed the gathering were Uri Saguy, Yossi Peled, Yoram Yair, Emanuel Sakal and Yaakov Even. The criticism covered a wide range of subjects, including the decisions taken before the war to massively cut the size of the reserve infantry brigades, and the over-reliance on aerial bombardments.