Politicians Across the Board Want PM, Peretz to Resign

Lawmakers and public bodies from across the political spectrum have called for the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, with few dissenting voices after the publishing of the Winograd report yesterday.

MK Yuval Steinitz '(Likud') said that during the Lebanon war last summer the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee had to issue ultimatums to the army to move troops to defend the Golan Heights, which had been left totally unprotected.

MK Ophir Pines-Paz '(Labor') called for mass demonstrations to demand that Olmert and Peretz step down.

MK Zevulon Orlev, the chairman of the National Religious Party, said 'the prime minister, because of whose failures lives of soldiers and civilians were lost, must stop barricading himself behind his position.'

Shas said that 'if they had listened to Eli Yishai and flattened villages in Lebanon' fewer lives would have been lost. Yishai's media adviser Roi Lahmanovich said 'Eli spoke in no uncertain terms [in the cabinet] of flattening villages, damaging roads, water and electricity.'

MK Efi Eitam '(National Union') said following Olmert's statement that he would not resign that 'Olmert is turning the Prime Minister's Office into Ehud-grad.'

The Land of Israel Legal Forum called for Olmert to fire Peretz and step down immediately thereafter. If Olmert does not resign, the organization will petition the High Court of Justice, it said. In a letter to Olmert yesterday, Itzhak Bam of the forum wrote, 'You may not ignore the findings of the report, and in light of this, it is unreasonable for you to continue as prime minister.'

The forum wrote to Peretz that he was 'endangering the security of Israel.'

The Movement for Quality Government also called on Olmert and Peretz to resign immediately and criticized the Winograd Committee for not making a recommendation to that affect.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has appointed a team to study the report. The IDF Spokesman said 'the army is deep in the process of applying the lessons and correcting the mistakes uncovered following investigations after the war.'