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Israeli Minister Quits in Protest of Government's Handling of Hezbollah War

01 May 2007

An Israeli cabinet minister has resigned to protest the government's handling of last year's war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Eitan Cabel, a minister without portfolio, said Tuesday that he was stepping down from the cabinet of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Cabel, a member of the governing coalition's Labor Party, made the announcement a day after an official investigating commission criticized Mr. Olmert's the handling of the war, saying that he went to war without a proper plan.

Commission chairman Eliyahu Winograd said the prime minister failed to consult with experts outside the Israeli armed forces about the conflict. The chairman noted Mr. Olmert's lack of a military background.

Winograd also accused Mr. Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and then-chief of staff Dan Halutz of a serious failure in judgment during the 34-day conflict.

The report did not call for Prime Minister Olmert or any Israeli officials to resign.

Later, Mr. Olmert said in a nationally televised address that he has no plans to resign, and will work to correct mistakes made during the war.

He said Israel made strategic gains in a U.N.-brokered ceasefire that required Hezbollah to withdraw from positions near the border and that strengthened the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

Many Israelis consider the war against Hezbollah a failure because Israel did not crush the Islamic militant group or get back the two soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah in its raid.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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