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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Olmert, Peretz and Halutz's Winograd Commission testimony

I never thought I would see the day that I agreed with Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On on something. That day has arrived.

Last week, I reported that the Winograd Commission testimony of Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert, 'defense' Minister Amir Comrade Peretz and former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz would be released before Passover, which starts on Monday night. Well, maybe....

Israel Radio reported this evening that the Commission is going to court tomorrow morning to try to convince the court that it needs more time to run the testimony through the IDF censor and that therefore it cannot be released before Pesach. Gal-On, the MK who brought the Supreme Court appeal to try to force the commission to release the testimony says through her lawyer that she expects the Commission to uphold what it promised the court, and if not then it should be held in contempt. But, it turns out, the Court never ordered the Commission to release the testimony by a specific day and now the Commission is trying to grab onto that thread.

For those who may be wondering what in the trio's testimony could be so explosive, here's one thing from Arutz Sheva, which I have not seen in any of Israel's mainstream media:
Meir Dagan, head of intelligence (Mossad) advised Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to delay the war against Hizbullah last summer until the Home Front could prepare citizens against Katyusha rockets, but the advice was ignored. Dagan later termed the war a "national catastrophe" and demanded a state inquiry, according to new reports.


The intelligence chief's advice, revealed in a report in a Hebrew newspaper to be published on Monday, was given to Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz the day that Hizbullah kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Dagan also said he feared that a quick retaliation would quickly escalate into a war and explained, "The risk of damage to home front targets is very high," according to the report to be published in Ha'aretz. "In my opinion, we do not have to strike right away. We can prepare and plan. What's to lose by striking in two days' time?"

Not only did the Prime Minister and Defense Minister not accept Dagan's opinion, they also did not even mention it to the Cabinet, according to the article.

Immediately following the war, Dagan termed the war a "national catastrophe" and urged the firing of Dan Halutz, who was then IDF Chief of Staff, journalists Ofir Shalakh and Yoav Limor wrote in a new book called Prisoners in Lebanon. Halutz resigned two months ago following mounting criticism of his handling of the war.

Dagan and Diskin demanded that Prime Minister Olmert establish a state inquiry, which would have power to subpoena witnesses and take legal action against anyone responsible for failures.

Instead, the Prime Minister set up the government-appointed Winograd Commission following a failed attempt for the probe to be conducted by a panel appointed by Defense Minister Peretz.


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