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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

OUTRAGE! Winograd member: Olmert spared due to 'peace process'

If any of you had any doubt that the Winograd Committee report was fixed, doubt no more. Committee member Yechezkel Dror gave an interview that is on the front page of Maariv today (sorry, Hebrew only but as you will see it's been picked up by all the English sites) in which he admitted that "the fact that the Prime Minister will advance the 'peace process' is a very worthy consideration." In other words, the committee did not call for Olmert's resignation because they believe that the country 'needs' him to give away all of our strategic assets. Can it get more corrupt than this?
"If we think that the prime minister could further the peace process then that is a very worthy consideration," Dror told the daily Maariv newspaper. "A peace process, if it is successful, will save so many lives that it is a weighty consideration."

When asked whether Olmert should be allowed to see his tenure through to its conclusion, Dror said: "We must think about the consequences. What do you prefer, a government with Olmert and Barak, or new elections that will put Netanyahu in power?"
In fact, Arutz Sheva has an even worse quote from Dror:
Asked if the bereaved parents of the Second Lebanon War are not a consideration, Prof. Dror responded: “I am thinking about the bereaved parents in a future war. If the peace process will prevent a war in the future, so think about those parents, who won’t undergo the greatest pain there is.”

Summing up his viewpoint, Dror said: “The needs of the future must balance the need for justice in the present.”
Dror, who made the mistake of confirming what most of us thought all along, is now working the radio talk shows claiming he was misquoted. Back to the Jerusalem Post:
"The statements misquoted in my name did not constitute my personal opinion and were said in a conversation with the interviewer in which we discussed what the public should think in moral and public questions," Dror said in a statement. "The [remarks] do not express any opinion as to the identity of various members of government; they definitely do not reflect my personal opinion and certainly were not discussed in any deliberation of the Winograd Committee."

The committee's chairman Eliyahu Winograd also told Israel Radio that Dror's statements did not reflect the committee's position and were not discussed at all by the committee.

Meanwhile, an unnamed member of the committee told Army Radio Dror's remarks were "terrible words which damage the report's ability to achieve its purpose."
But when Dror spoke to Razi Barkai of Army Radio, he got himself in trouble again. This is from Arutz Sheva:
Prof. Dror told Army Radio's Razi Barkai Wednesday morning that he had spoken "as a private citizen and not as a member of the Winograd Committee." He also said that since his statement on a Netanyahu government was phrased as a question, it did not constitute taking a position on the matter.

"But you are a member of the committee," Barkai said. Prof. Dror ended the coversation, saying he will take no further questions.
MK's from both the left and right have reacted with outrage. This is from the JPost:
Dror's statements were proof that the Winograd Committee acted out of illegitimate political considerations, MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said. "New elections must be declared and the decision must be handed to the people," Rivlin told Israel Radio.


"The remarks raise suspicion of severe political corruption," State Control Committee Chairman Zevulun Orlev of the National Union\National Religious Party said, adding that he would convene the committee for an ad hoc meeting Thursday and call on Professor Dror to elucidate his remarks to the committee members.

Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin was also vehement in his response to the Dror interview. "Professor Dror's remarks are chilling and prove that the committee is operating under somebody's auspices," Beilin said. If ensuring that Olmert remains in power was in fact one of the committee's considerations in formulating its Final Report, then the committee "loses all of its validity."

Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich echoed Silvan Shalom in calling for a new state inquiry commission. "Apparently, at least one of the committee members acted out of political motives and the trend of turning Olmert into an etrog (editor's note: the delicate citron used to celebrate the high holiday of Succot) due to the illusion that he can further a peace process has also seeped into the committee."
Sex offender Chaim Ramon, Olmert's friend, came to Dror's defense:
"I am convinced that this is Professor Dror's personal opinion and not a consideration that guided the committee."
And here's more from Arutz Sheva:
"Today it has been revealed that the Winograd Committee was corrupt and influenced by foreign consideration," said Likud MK Gilad Erdan. "It is now clear why the report made no recommendations [regarding termination of office of government officials] and why the first meeting of the committee took place in the Prime Minister's Office. It is now clear that the proper place for this report is in the trash can." Erdan called on Shas and Labor to withdraw from the government and "restore the faith of the nation by bringing down the government and going to early elections."

MK Silvan Shalom (Likud) went further, demanding an official State Committee of Investigation, as was demanded initially. “It was clear from the beginning that those handpicked by PM Olmert were picked for a reason and now we see what it is,” Shalom said. “It does not matter how long it takes, we need a committee that will really truly examine what happened and name who is at fault.” Shalom explained that at a time when the public already has such little trust of its elected officials, it is critical that such an investigation be carried out in a sincere manner.
And for those who don't understand the reference to the etrog (pictured at top):
Journalist Amnon Abramovitch made headlines in the past when he declared a similar sentiment to Dror's at a pre-Disengagement conference at Jerusalem's Van Leer Institute. "I think that we need to protect [then Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon like an Etrog [a citron fruit delicately handled on the Jewish festival of Sukkot]." He later elaborated in Maariv (April 26, 2005) that due to Sharon's willingness to destroy Jewish communities in Gaza "we need to protect him not only from political obstacles but also from legal obstacles as well."
It's time to stop treating Olmert like an etrog and to start treating him like the rotted tomato he really is.

And for those who are surprised, I told you so a year and a half ago.


At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's that smell?

I would not shed a tear if the earth would open up under the Knesset building and swallow it whole during a full attendance session.

Let us pray.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel's justice system more resembles that of a banana republic than a developed country. Leftists are left off the hook and Rightists are severely punished for the same offenses. Yechezekel Dror merely said openly in an unguarded moment what many Israelis have thought of their government for the past few decades: its arbitary, unprincipled, and totally corrupt. And now Dror has proven them right.

The fix was in the moment Winograd started work and they saved Ehud Olmert because despite his shortcomings, he advanced policies the Commission liked. If that is true and there is no reason doubt Dror's word on it, the Commission's decision to let Olmert off the hook was the result of external political considerations.

Since the Left dominates much of the upper reaches of Israeli government and society, the way it misuses power for its own interests can only accelerate the collapse of the state's legitimacy. Dror may have thought he was saving the "peace process" but there's a good chance his disclosure of what's been Winograd's work will lead to the opposite result.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

If Barak and Shas stay in the government after this, can they survive in the next election?

This is a bombshell, the likes of which have been rarely matched in history, and sadly only by the recent, politically motivated and equally dangerous NIE.

Netanyahu could win over 60 seats alone in the next election just by not being one of these stooges.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

J. Lichty,

Shas will survive in any event. Barak may not, but he is apparently in another one of his "we have to prove that the 'Palestinians' don't want peace" modes like he was in 2000. He's blind to what's going on around him.

But don't expect the Likud to win 60 seats over this. You'd have to be a fool not to have realized all along that this 'commission's job was to cover Olmert's butt. If you read between the lines much of the criticism is because Dror said it and not because it's true.


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