OlmertTo those who haven’t heard, Olmert is trying to game the situation by bringing in investigative committees that will have little power to research what went wrong in this war and essentially be unable to come to any serious conclusions regarding malfunctions on the government’s side although, presumably, the IDF will come up with many. There’s an interesting analysis of this by Alex Fishman on Ynet. Olmert is doing all of this, of course, to avoid a state inquiry which will have the authority of law to have witnesses testify, be led by a former supreme court justice and can and will make actual recommendations as to the careers of the key protagonists here.

Fortunately, it seems that Israel’s comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss, is having none of it. He announced to the media today that his department will not be the third investigative committee which Olmert assigned to investigating problems with the home front. Rather, his department will investigate whatever it deems pertinent to the functioning of the state. His department, he told the media, is not beholden to the PM or the Cabinet, answers only to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and has, in fact, already began to collect testimonies and evidence relating to the conduct of the government in this war. Yay!

While this is not as good as having a state inquiry in place, in large part because the comptroller cannot recommend that people resign and have the same authority as a senior high court justice, it will definitely have an impact on what we know and on lessons that need to be learned about the mistakes (and successes) of this war. Despite positive stories that are beginning to filter out to the media, not the least of which is Nasrallah’s understated speech on Al Manar two days ago (in which he stated that he was not only surprised by the magnitude of Israel’s response but had he known what was coming, he would not have attacked Israel), we only need to look at Olmert’s machinations with respect to these committees of inquiry to understand that things went very wrong and he is trying to save his behind.

One of the problems for the population that would like to see a robust investigation, it should be mentioned, is the fear many have – including many Kadima and Labor voters in particular – of what would happen if Kadima and Labor end up losing their leaders to resignation. I have to believe that there is a natural disinclination to drive the government further to the Right than the Center Right represented by Kadima. Certainly this is true of the Laborites. The problem is not Netanyahu, it’s that the Likud has become far less mainstream and dominated by voices from the far Right including many hardliners from the settlements. As such, Kadima is a far better accepted option for most Israelis who don’t vote for one-purpose parties.

Still to be played out…

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themiddle

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  • Sorry I have to disagree entirely with the last paragraph analysis. First of all, no one cares about the voters. Olmert, Peres, and Peretz will do anything to stay in power. The disengagement II is too important to miss out on, and they also get to deal with Iran and the publicity that will bring them.Kadima is not centre right. If anything it is centre-left. Labour is left, not centre-left. The likud is a farce and your claim about a swing right are so wrong, as well as your exageration about far-right settler voices (represented by Feiglin) that really have not picked up any influence in the likud, if anything, they too have had their numbers contracted for several reasons.

    A small reminder, most Israelis certainly did not vote for Kadima or Labour. In fact, only 37% of voters (of the 63% that showed up), chose either of those parties.
    If elections were to happen today, even less people would show up, especially bohemian Kadima and Labour voters.

    The polls show a major rise of Yisrael Beitenu as well as an increasing popularity of this immigrant party from native sabras (I assume mainly because they haven’t had a chance in power to screw up yet).

    I agree fully with paragraph 5. Who the hell knows where this is leading? If anyone thought that it was assumed that Olmert and Peretz would step down for their failure, then voila, we see that they will indeed hang on until we forget about the 4000 katyushas and the plight of the northerners who were ignored by the government except for some compensation.

  • Sorry I have to disagree entirely with the last paragraph analysis. First of all, no one cares about the voters. Olmert, Peres, and Peretz will do anything to stay in power. The disengagement II is too important to miss out on, and they also get to deal with Iran and the publicity that will bring them.Kadima is not centre right. If anything it is centre-left. Labour is left, not centre-left. The likud is a farce and your claim about a swing right are so wrong, as well as your exageration about far-right settler voices (represented by Feiglin) that really have not picked up any influence in the likud, if anything, they too have had their numbers contracted for several reasons.

    A small reminder, most Israelis certainly did not vote for Kadima or Labour. In fact, only 37% of voters (of the 63% that showed up), chose either of those parties.
    If elections were to happen today, even less people would show up, especially bohemian Kadima and Labour voters.

    The polls show a major rise of Yisrael Beitenu as well as an increasing popularity of this immigrant party from native sabras (I assume mainly because they haven’t had a chance in power to screw up yet).

    I agree fully with paragraph 5. Who the hell knows where this is leading? If anyone thought that it was assumed that Olmert and Peretz would step down for their failure, then voila, we see that they will indeed hang on until we forget about the 4000 katyushas and the plight of the northerners who were ignored by the government except for some compensation.

  • Speaking of investigations, Finland has still to receive results of the investigation of the bombing of the UN outpost. It was only yesterday that the Prime Minister mentioned expecting to receive it.

    Has the chaos in the government tied everyone’s hands? It seems so.

  • What do you expect to find, Finnish? The Israelis will claim that Hizbullah was bombarding from very close by…because that’s exactly what the Canadian reported to his former commander. Let us know if the result is different.

  • I expect there to be the facts related to the cause of this unfortunate incident – nothing more, nothing less. I don’t want a white-wash or spin about the issue. I want questions answered, especially the “who”, “why” and “how”.

    I’m looking forward to seeing an answer to the puzzling question why would someone aim/order the aiming within 30 m (or whatever was the range of the bomb given the known variables of weather, GPS jamming, etc.) of a well-known outpost location and how was such an episode possible in the first place and what will be done to prevent such events in the future. Hizbullah or no Hizbullah, if you don’t want to destroy the outpost as well, you just do not aim too close with imprecise munitions.

    Accidents do happen and if it was such, then something needs to be done to lessen the probability of such an accident from happening again.

    As for the reporting by observers, it is also known that the observers had contacted IDF multiple times during the day, telling the IDF that the IDF bombs are hitting progressively more closer, too close for comfort. Nothing was done about it. I’d like to know why the observers were being ignored.

    So as you can see, there are many questions for which me and many others, including the Prime Minister and the Parliament, seek answers. The answers are what I expect to find.

    But in any case, I’ll let you know in a comment (I doubt the result will reach front page) when I see the report coming out.

  • Latest word is that early next week, Israel will deliver the report about the bombing of Patrol Base Khiam bombing. The report is ready already, but they want to give it simultaneously to the involved nations (Austria, Canada, China, Finland).

  • In the news today (if anyone is interested): new date for the report about Patrol Base Khiam is Thursday this week. PM of Finland says they will also wait for the report by UN, and use both reports to draw conclusions about events which took place.

    At this time it’s unknown whether the report by Israel will be made public. Personally I see no reason why it should be kept secret.

  • The report about Patrol Base Khiam has been given today. According to preliminary information, there were “problems identifying the target”. The pilot thought he/she was hitting a Hizbullah target. Information is scarce, as the report is not fully public yet.

    So in conclusion the report seems to state it was a pilot error.

    Apparently there are also some problems with communication within the IDF, as the UN observers phoned IDF ten (10) times in a six (6) hour period, telling them to stop bombing the vicinity of the patrol post. The locations of the (very stationary) UN patrol bases are well known.

    The full report is expected to be made public soon.

  • Continuing my monologue here, if anyone is interested about it, now both Israel and the UN have released their reports about the events at Patrol Base Khiam. Both reports are classified.

    Summarizing what’s known: UN says Israel takes full responsibility of the “operational-level error”. UN says it is unclear why attack on UN positions was not aborted despite multiple requests, as UN was unable to interview relevant commanders about this.

    The bomb which hit the patrol base was a medium-sized 500 kg precision guided munition.

    Israel said the ultimate cause was an error when copying the maps of the area, the patrol base was left out by mistake.

    Finnish group of experts are checking both reports, and if necessary, will ask for more information from the UN or Israel. Some results from the group of experts is expected at the end of this month.

    I don’t know how things are progressing in the other involved countries, Austria, Canada and China.

  • The Jerusalem Post has obtained the IDF document about the bombing of patrol base at El-Khiam and has an article about it.

    There’s nothing new as such in the article which wasn’t known beforehand in the media, except that 1. IAF has been cleared of responsibility (they get target data from elsewhere and have to rely on it being accurate) and 2. the UN claims of the observers calling IDF liaison officers 10 times were not referred to at all.

  • I saw that Finnish and also didn’t feel they said much that was new. If the article is correct, it may be that the IDF liason office was also incompetent or didn’t pass on the message or did pass on the message and it didn’t get through the system. I don’t know what’s better, an army that makes a mistake like this or an army that makes a targeting mistake because Hizbullah is a couple of hundred yards away.

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