BEIRUT – Lebanon’s prime minister said on Thursday that an Israeli report on the war against Hezbollah guerrillas in 2006 set the scene for a possible future conflict and failed to address “Israel’s crimes against Lebanon”.
The Israeli government-appointed Winograd Commission issued a report on Wednesday that criticized the conduct of the army and government during the war, but which endorsed key decisions at the time by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
“The report calls for preparation for the next war, which shows that Israel has not learned the appropriate lesson from its defeat,” a statement from Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s media office said.
“The enemy’s aims towards Lebanon have stayed the same — that is attacking Lebanon in the future.”
Israel’s retired Supreme Court Justice Eliahu Winograd said in a speech presenting his report that Israel must seek peace with its neighbors.
“At the same time, seeking peace or managing the conflict must come from a position of social, political and military strength, and through the ability and willingness to fight for the state, its values and the security of its population even in the absence of peace.”
About 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 159 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed in the war, triggered after Hezbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight in a cross-border raid.
Siniora also said the report did not mention the war’s cost on Lebanon. Israel pounded the Hezbollah bastions of southern Beirut and south Lebanon with aircraft, warships and artillery. It also hit other parts of the country.
Hezbollah fired about 4,000 rockets into northern Israel.
“The report does not contain any mention of the crimes Israel committed against Lebanon … or of the massacres against civilians … the report also doesn’t mention huge destruction to infrastructure most of which were hospitals, schools, places of worship, bridges and residential buildings.”
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said this month he doubted Israel had the political and military leadership and qualified army to launch a new war on Lebanon.