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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Gal-On gets one right

Meretz moonbat Zehava Gal-On is one of my least favorite MK's, but tonight she's spot-on with a scathing letter she sent to retired justice Eliyahu Winograd, the chairman of the commission that bears his name.

The letter was sent in response to last night's report that the Commission does not plan to name names or make specific recommendations against individuals in its final report. The Commission has declined to comment on that report, but convicted sex offender Haim Ramon said this morning that if it's true, the omission of names in the report would 'stabilize' the government of crooked Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert.

Here's part of Gal-On's letter:
"I appeal to you with the request to verify media publications stating that the commission, headed by yourself, has decided to publish the final report without personal recommendations", Gal-On wrote in a letter to Judge Eliyahu Winograd on Tuesday.

"According to leaks, it seems that it will be a severe report, with harsh criticism against the prime minister, the political and military echelon, but no recommendations for impeachment.

"The Cohen committee that examined the circumstances of the Sabra and Shatila massacre determined that an inquiry committee that does not exhaust the full force of the law against those responsible is abandoning its duty. To the best of my understanding, the things said in the report give you the moral and legal obligation to exhaust the full force of the law on the failed political echelon," the letter said.

"Even if the final report is severe and contains harsh criticism like the interim report regarding the political echelon's decision making process that led to, among other things, the war's last operation in which 33 soldiers were killed, and even if it contains harsh remakrs against those responsible, still, without operational conclusions against those responsible for the failure, this criticism will be important, but certainly not sufficient," the letter continued.

"Even if the findings are shocking and the conclusions negative, only personal recommendations will have practical validity of a court order.

"Although personal recommendations are not the main issue, I believe they are a necessary condition. Without personal recommendations, we will not be able to prevent those responsible for the failures from continuing to cause disasters in the future."

Gal-On added that "the bereaved parents, the wounded with scars on their bodies and minds, the million citizens that sat in shelters on the home front, and the public in Israel expect an official announcement by the committee, headed by yourself, to refute media publications and announce that it does plan on making personal recommendations in the final report".
According to the Jerusalem Post, if last night's report is true, the Commission's plan may violate more than just a determination by the Cohen Commission:
If such a decision was indeed taken by the committee, it would appear to violate the promise it gave to the High Court of Justice during a hearing on September 4. The hearing involved two petitions demanding that the panel promise it would send cautionary letters to potential victims of its final report and grant them all of the protections provided by law to those who stand to be harmed by the findings of state commissions of inquiry.

The Winograd Committee is a government-appointed committee of examination that is not covered by the State Commission of Inquiry Law.

Nevertheless, the committee's lawyer, Zvi Agmon, told the court it would act in accordance with the State Commission of Inquiry Law and send out letters of caution to anyone who stood to be harmed by the committee. The petitioners insisted that in accordance with that law, a person could be harmed by the commission even if it did not recommend punitive measures against him.

According to Article 15 (d) of the law, "The commission of inquiry is permitted not to send a letter of caution to a given person so long as it is convinced that there is nothing in the investigation that could hurt him and that the commission's report will not including findings or conclusions and will not make recommendations regarding him."

In other words, a person stands to be hurt by a commission of investigation even if no measures are recommended against him, if he is strongly criticized in the description of the facts or the conclusions reached by the committee. Thus, even if the Winograd Committee has indeed decided not to publish personnel recommendations, it is not necessarily absolved of the obligation to issue letters of caution, with all the time-consuming procedures that such a move entails.
The Likud is calling on Labor party leader Ehud Barak to fulfill his promise and leave the government when the final Winograd report is published. Barak and the Labor party declined comment today.

The problem with the Commission is - as alluded to in the Post article - that it is not covered by the State Commission of Inquiry Law. Further, unlike previous precedents, the Commission is acting under time pressure due to the continuing unstable situation on our borders and due to the refusal of those who led the political echelon in last summer's debacle to do the honorable thing and resign. Olmert clearly should and must go, and the most honorable way to do so would be to call new elections. But don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Olmert is too busy with his friend Abu Mazen.


At 10:37 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

The sad thing is, she is against Olmert because she does not believe he is giving up enough land fast enough. This is her reason to write the letter she did.

Honestly, at this point I just have no idea what to do. The political situation in Israel is untenable. Carl, what do you recommend I do to act against the suicidal plan for Jerusalem?

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Red Tulips,

I don't know what I can do other than a lot of prayer and continuing to speak out through my blog, and you're asking me what YOU should do?


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