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Winograd May Exclude Personal Recommendations

The long-awaited Winograd Report on gov't malfunctioning during the 2nd Lebanon War will not contain its most important part: personal conclusions.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 10/9/2007, 1:50 PM

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, already under two police investigations for attempting to sway the Bank Leumi privatization sale and for receiving a $330,000 discount on his purchase of a luxury apartment, was presumably happy to learn Monday that the Winograd Commission is likely to omit personal recommendations in its final report.

The Winograd Commission, chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, was appointed by the government shortly after the Second Lebanon War, in response to strong public pressure to investigate the war's perceived failures.
It began its work in September 2006, releasing an interim report six months later that harshly criticized Olmert, then-Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and then-IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz.

The interim report, dealing only with the decisions relating to the beginning of the war, specified that it "includes only personal conclusions in the interim report, without personal recommendations. However, we will reconsider this matter towards our Final Report in view of the depiction of the war as a whole."

Though the interim report led many, including Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, to call for Olmert to resign, the Prime Minister managed to side-step these pressures. It was widely felt his respite was only temporary, however, and that the Commission's Final Report would decisively call for his resignation.

These predictions have been shelved, however, with a report on Ynet that the Final Report will likely not include any personal recommendations.

MK Zahava Gal'on (Meretz), who has long demanded less secrecy in, and tougher action by, the Winograd Commission, has asked Justice Winograd to issue an official statement regarding the Commission's intentions.

"A final report without personal recommendations is not sufficient," she said.  "Even if the report is grave and tough, it will not be enough if it does not include operative conclusions regarding those who are responsible for the failures.  It is incumbent upon you, morally and legally, to mete out full justice regarding the failed political leadership."

Peretz Speaks
At a Tuesday session of the Knesset Audit Committee, Former Defense Minister Peretz said it would be irresponsible of anyone to imply that a decision by the Israeli Government to go to war was hasty or reckless.  "It was the proper response to a series of grave events that occurred at the time," Peretz said.