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Olmert's Confessions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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After the war in Lebanon ended last summer, Israelis begun investigating the causes of the political and military damage obtained during the war through a process of internal evaluation and accountability that the Israelis usually carry out after every war they are involved in. Recently, it was time to call Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to account, since he was the Israeli official who launched this war. In his testimony, he confessed to three points that we had already heard of or rather expected. He said that he had warned the Lebanese government of the consequences of any attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers, following a foiled kidnap attempt. He also said that he had ordered the Israeli army to plan for an attack in case Hezbollah or any other party carried out any abduction. He confessed that the American Secretary of State had contacted him after the first day of the war on Lebanon and warned him against striking the infrastructure of Lebanon so as not to weaken the central government.

It is futile to return once again to the previous controversy that warring Lebanese parties that sought to disguise, silence and denounce those who stated that Hezbollah’s actions were merely a tactless risk that resulted in the death of over 1000 Lebanese for the sake of liberating three prisoners of Hezbollah detained in Israeli prisons. Even Hezbollah’s Secretary General himself had publicly and courageously admitted that had he known that any harm at all would have been inflicted upon Lebanon as a result of his actions, he would never have allowed the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers to take place. However, these parties had deliberately silenced Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah by omitting his statements from their discussions and insisting upon the claim of victory that was received with jubilance among Arab publics who, like always, support any fighting that does not harm their own children, see their homes destroyed or the stability of their countries affected. The war left Lebanon in ruins and in a state of political dissolution. Lebanon is currently divided between German forces that are stationed at the airport and inspect it inside out, French troops that are inspecting ports and Israeli air forces stationed in Lebanon’s skies in addition to the forcing out of Hezbollah’s forces from a third of Lebanon for the first time, which transformed the confrontation between Hezbollah members and Israel into the occupation of central Beirut on the pretext that if you can’t beat the enemy, confront the weak.

Ever since the uncouth kidnap, Lebanon is no longer the same Lebanon. Thousands of Lebanese citizens have immigrated to different countries, many Lebanese economic facilities were shut down and many emigrants had lost their life savings that they earned from Africa, Australia and America.

What is really surprising is that Israelis admit their mistakes and defeats and that they call themselves as well as their leaders to account. Yet, in Lebanon they are still fighting one another and brashly refuse to admit their mistakes. For that reason, we can understand why Israel can surpass us and why we continuously fail. Has there ever been a single disaster that befell Arabs whether natural or organized that was followed up by investigations, the results of which would have the guilty parties brought to account and punished? There have never been such investigations ever since the series of defeats that began with the defeat of the 1948 war, where only scapegoats were convicted so as to save the real perpetrators from the anger of the people and disguise the scandal.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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