Thursday, June 19, 2008
Winograd Probe Member: 'Olmert Must Go'
Prof. Yechezkel Dror, who made headlines several months ago when he admitted that political considerations colored his Winograd Committee decisions, has backtracked. He now says Olmert must be replaced.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Conference for Quality in Government on Tuesday night, Prof. Dror said, "Olmert did not implement the recommendations of the Winograd Committee, and did not significantly strengthen his National Security Council." Dror was a member of the Winograd Committee that investigated Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's handling of the Second Lebanon War - and that stopped short of calling for Olmert to be replaced. Though Prof. Dror described the government situation he and his colleagues were investigating as a "nightmare," they did not recommend that he step down.
This past February, Prof. Dror himself explained why they did not call on Olmert to step down. Dror admitted that the committee members refrained from toppling Olmert because they wanted to preserve the "peace process," and because of the fear that Binyamin Netanyahu would win the resulting elections.
“If we think the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, will advance the peace process, that is a very honorable consideration,” Prof. Dror told Maariv newspaper at the time. “What do you prefer? An Olmert-Barak government, or new elections where Netanyahu will rise to power?”
His admission that an official government committee was guided by political considerations caused a public storm, but it quickly passed with no concrete action being taken against him.
Now, however, Dror seems to have changed his mind, calling specifically for Olmert to step down from office. "There is currently no strategic element helping the Prime Minister in his [national security] decision making process," he said in his speech. Dror also said that Olmert has "not yet succeeded in coming up with a reasonable explanation for why he received those [cash-filled] envelopes from Morris Talansky.".