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Monday, September 17, 2007

Too little information for zany Zehava, too much for brutal Bashar

There are complaints about media coverage of Israel's alleged attack on a Syrian WMD installation from both Israel and Syria today. In Israel, the complaints come from Meretz moonbat Zehava Gal-On who complains that the government has not given the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee - of which she is not a member - enough information. In Syria, the complaints come from Chinless Ophthalmologist Bashar al-Assad, who is upset that any information has reached the world beyond the fact that his air force shot at IAF planes on September 6.
In a letter headed "The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee's critique of unusual military action over the border," which she addressed to Attorney General Menahem Mazuz, Gal-On asserted that "The FADC is the Knesset's parliamentary apparatus for supervising actions taken by the IDF and the government."

"The prime minister must report to the subcommittee and divulge the considerations that led to the IDF's action in Syria, and whether or not all of the possible repercussions of such action were taken into account."

Gal-On claimed that a committee headed by Prof. Amnon Rubinstein had advised that the FADC's parliamentary supervision of government actions be bolstered. According to Gal-On, the IAF's alleged attack is a classic example of a case where parliamentary supervision of government action is necessary.

Meretz Chairman MK Yossi Beilin expressed his regret over Gal-On's letter, saying that had he thought that there was something wrong with the government's withholding of information regarding the foray he would have said so himself in his capacity as a FADC member. He added that in the said affair he did not see any need for a critique and did not consider it necessary that details be divulged.
If the Prime Minister were someone more responsible than Ehud K. Olmert, I think we could dismiss Gal-On entirely. But on Friday, when rumors were running through our synagogue that another war was on, the gentleman who sits behind me said "That maniac has started two wars in a year." My response was "I don't think Nasrallah is involved in this war." And he answered "I meant Olmert." So perhaps Gal-On needs to be answered.

First, I would hope that when and if the FADC is briefed on this operation, neither Gal-On nor the media knows anything about it. I'd be surprised if Tzachi Hanegbi (the chairman) and Yuval Steinitz (the former chairman and senior Likud member of the committee) have not been briefed already. If not, they ought to be. But that's a decision that should be taken by Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and not by the attorney general or the courts. (Parenthetically, this is what drives me crazy about the moonbat left in Israel - they think everything is an issue for the courts).

Second, whatever committee Rubinstein headed, as far as I know, it's recommendations have not been adopted into law yet. Until they are, the recommendations bind no one. And it is certainly not Mazuz's or the Supreme Court's prerogative to interfere by insisting on their adoption. Nominally, the Knesset is still the supreme body in this country (no balance of power here), and while the Court has abrogated to itself the right to declare laws 'unconstitutional' (in a country without a constitution), I don't think it has yet to assume for itself the right to legislate.

Third, as her own party chairman points out, if it's anyone's prerogative to ask the government for information, it's the FADC's and not a private Knesset member's. I suppose this means that we are going to have to suffer more interviews on the radio with the whiny Gal-On (she has one of the most irritating voices I have ever heard) for the next couple of days.

YNet has more of the text of Gal-On's letter. Haaretz adds that the Rubinstein committee recommended that "the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee be aware of IDF activities in order to ensure parliamentary oversight." Maybe she wants the IDF to come to the Knesset to ask permission before each military operation so that the Knesset - with ten Arab members out of 120 - can debate them first.

Meanwhile, in Syria, Bashar al-Assad is not pleased with the amount of information that has been leaked in the international media. In a way this is surprising, since one would think he would want as much information out as possible in order to set up a future UN Security Council condemnation veto by the United States. But Bashar does not want details out and if I am right about what the target was, he has good reason not to want the information to be public: he doesn't want the world to know what he had at the target that was destroyed because he may have more of it somewhere. Not to mention that he may not want other countries to realize how ineffective his brand new Soviet surface-to-air missiles are. This is from the Post again:
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad was furious following the release of information regarding Israel's alleged incursion into his country's airspace nearly two weeks ago. According to a report Monday, Assad has ordered that every person involved in the incident - regardless of rank or position - be investigated.

"Syrian President Bashar Assad decided to establish a committee that will investigate how classified information on the infiltration of Israeli planes was leaked to Arab media," Kuwaiti newspaper A-Siasa.

Assad ordered the commander of Syrian intelligence, Asaf Shawkat, Head of General Intelligence Directorate Ali Mamlouk, and Air force Commander Abed al-Fatah Kodsya to head a committee charged with investigating which Syrian official delivered information to the Arab media. "President Assad ordered the generals not to be negligent…and to probe everyone involved, regardless of his rank or position," said the report.

Syrian media was quick to divulge information on the apparent raid, releasing reports that Israeli Air force jets had broken the sound barrier and dropped fuel tanks over deserted areas in northern Syria, along its border with Turkey, an afternoon after the operation allegedly took place on September 7.
Nothing going on here. Just us birds chirping.


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