Many Middle Eastern papers agree that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert should leave office following the damning conclusions of an investigation into last summer's war in Lebanon.
Most Israeli papers see public support fading or turning to hostility given the severe criticism of the government's conduct. One paper says even Churchill would not have passed such scrutiny.
Other Mideast papers fear that Olmert will try to rehabilitate his reputation through another military action.
ISRAEL'S YEDIOT AHARONOT
The Winograd Committee has slaughtered Olmert, [Defence Minister] Peretz and [former chief of staff] Halutz. In a normal state it is doubtful that they would be able to be rehabilitated politically, but in the land of prophets and miracles anything can happen.
OFER SHELAH IN ISRAEL'S MAARIV
All political speculation is irrelevant. All the consultations being conducted by the wise men who surround Olmert and Peretz are in vain... Olmert cannot remain in office after the interim report of the Winograd Committee.
EHUD OSHRI IN ISRAEL'S HAARETZ
All the scope for erring and judgment given to a leader at times of war was narrowed to zero in the invasive investigation which followed. Even Churchill would not have passed this test. To Olmert's credit, it can be said at least that he has already learned from his mistakes.
NAHUM BARNEA IN ISRAEL'S YEDIOT AHARONOT
The bottom line is Ehud Olmert should go... He is sentenced to continue to serve in a hostile public atmosphere... In the end the feeling in the public will be translated into a political move.
The Winograd Report contains not even one lenient word to which the prime minister could cling in order to extend his term... If the prime minister does not quit, he will be thrown out in a month or two. All this is virtually self-evident from the severity of the findings.
ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST
Having earlier stressed that he took full responsibility for the events last summer, the prime minister is now indicating that he will not resign. This is a mistake, and he must think again... He has said in interviews, including to this newspaper, that he believes he can yet rebuild the public's trust in him. This is unlikely, given the relentless swirl of corruption allegations surrounding him and his government.
YOSSI VERTER IN ISRAEL'S HAARETZ
Olmert has two options: resign, or die a slow, humiliating political death, torturous, undignified and foretold... Only a serious military crisis, a war in Gaza or on the northern front, led by another defence minister and chief of staff, could lengthen Olmert's time in office.
GHAZI AL-DADA IN SYRIA'S TISHRIN
Probably, Ehud Olmert's promise of "drawing lessons and correcting mistakes" will be carried out through a new military adventure or through new crimes committed against Palestinians. One could read this between the lines when Olmert said that he does not want an escalation with the Palestinians but that he might be forced into it, as if he is justifying in advance the crimes which he intends to commit.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES' AL-KHALIJ
US President George Bush was the first to rush to praise Olmert after the substance of the Winograd Commission report was made public, with the aim of covering up for him... But, the question is: Can Bush, who is sunk in a quagmire, protect the failing Olmert?
HUSAM AL-DAWI IN QATAR'S AL-WATAN
Olmert and his government are in dire need of military action in order to improve their image following the fallout from the aggression on Lebanon... Accordingly, launching an attack remains a high possibility.
ABD-AL-BARI ATWAN IN PAN-ARAB AL-QUDS AL-ARABI
The main reason for this unprecedented historical failure was the endurance of the Islamic resistance, Hezbollah, on the battle field and its well planned military strategy. Hezbollah has every right to celebrate its victory again.
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