( dpa ) - A week before publication of a final report into Israel's month-long war with Lebanon's Hezbollah in 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Wednesday fiercely defended his management of the crisis.
Olmert pledged to "internalize" the report's expected criticism and promised not to "evade serious and profound debate" about the war's "failures, and especially achievements."
But hinting he had no intention of resigning, he said he would then "move on."
"It is quiet in the north of the country," Olmert told a high-profile conference in the coastal town of Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv.
"There is no daily friction and there is no firing of rockets. This has continued not for a day and not for a month, but for 18 consecutive months," he said, arguing this proved the 33-day offensive had restored Israel's power of "deterrence."
He admitted that Hezbollah had since the war enlarged its weapons and rockets arsenal.
But he argued, the question was not how many rockets Hezbollah had, but rather "what its willingness is to use these weapons."
"The facts speak for themselves," he added.
The situation along Israel's northern border had improved significantly since the war, he said, and "the fact which cannot be argued with is that Hezbollah is no longer deployed along the border."
Following intense pressure, Olmert appointed a government commission of inquiry headed by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd shortly after an August 2006 ceasefire ended the 33 days of combat with the Lebanese Shiite militant movement.
Publication of the commission's interim findings last April sparked widespread calls on him to resign. The commission is due to publish its final conclusions Wednesday next week.