A military retreat
It took a long time coming, but the resignation this week of IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz had an air of inevitability about it. General Halutz was in an impossible position, with the ongoing Winograd commission of inquiry into the Lebanon conflict looking likely to implicate him. Yet he was not the first to leave. General Udi Adam, the former head of the Northern Command, announced his resignation in September, and Galilee Division head Brigadier General Gal Hirsch stepped down in November amid continuing criticism of the war. Of course, General Halutz’s departure does not end a chapter. Rather, it signals the next round of resignations and recriminations. Now pressure will mount yet further on the political echelon, especially Defence Minister Amir Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Mr Peretz is almost certain to be unseated in May’s Labour leadership contest, and Mr Olmert faces both the stresses of the fallout from the war and a criminal investigation into his conduct as finance minister. Dual charges of incompetence and corruption may be a combination he finds hard to withstand. Both men, however, look likely to cling on to their seats in indecent desperation for the immediate future. Israeli generals, it seems, are more ready to take responsibility than their political contemporaries.