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Friday, May 11, 2007

Olmert wants to testify again; Livni met IDF intel chief during war

Earlier this week, I noted that Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert had accused foreign minister Tzipi Feigele Livni of lying to the Winograd Commission. The print editions of this morning's paper screamed with the headline "PM seeks to testify before Winograd again: Incensed he didn't have chance to refute Livni's 'false testimony' that she tried to end the war." This morning, Livni struck back:
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held a series of meetings with Military Intelligence Research Division head Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz during the Second Lebanon War without Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's knowledge, Army Radio reported on Friday morning.

Sources close to Livni claimed that she had initiated the meetings because Olmert had not included her in national security consultations.

Shortly after meeting with Baidatz, the report said, Livni began developing a diplomatic plan aimed at ending the fighting. They began meeting only two days after the war broke out.
You can all guess the source of that story. Obviously, Livni herself. It sure wasn't Baidatz. But note that the "two days after the war broke out" story fits perfectly with this:
Olmert's objections to parts of the report relate to a number of issues. The committee wrote about a conversation between Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on the second day of the war in which she recommends "to start thinking about a diplomatic way of ending the incident." Livni testified that Olmert told her to "relax" because the army has "targets for 10 days."

Olmert is challenging the facts as they had been presented by Livni. He is critical of the committee for not asking him about the foreign minister's testimony, while the committee quotes her testimony in the report without asking for his response.
Olmert also has a problem with the way he was treated in the committee - which he claims was complimentary - as compared with the harsh treatment he received in the final report:
Regarding the gap Olmert's aides say exists between the tone of the panel during the prime minister's testimony and the subsequent harsh treatment in the report, they quote Professor Ruth Gavison, who referred to the deliberations on the first day of the war as "very impressive," and the congratulations from Professor Yehezkel Dror for achieving UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brought the war to an end.

Only 89 pages of Olmert's testimony, which covered more than 200 pages, were permitted for publication following editing for security reasons. Sources familiar with the prime minister's full testimony say that it includes a great deal of congratulations from the panel members for the achievements during the war.

"It is not clear why they erased this," they said, "and it is not clear how these things fit with the conclusions of the partial [interim] report."
But all of Olmert's problems with the Commission - and even with Livni for that matter (whom I don't like) - come down to one basic issue. Olmert has never learned Harry Truman's rule for heads of state:


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