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Winograd Whirlwind

Winograd Member Yehezkel Dror: 'If we think Prime Minister Olmert is conducting a serious peace process this is a very important consideration'

Opposition Knesset Members: 'Dror's shocking statement reveals that the Lebanon War inquiry was partial to the Prime Minister'

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Photo: Amit Shabi)

Professor Yehezkel Dror of the five-member Winograd inquiry into the Second Lebanon War has shocked Israel with statements that show partiality toward Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Opposition Knesset Members from both right and left have condemned Dror's statements charging that the Winograd commission was stacked in Olmert's favor. However, the IsraCast assessment is that despite the firestorm sparked by Professor Dror there is slim chance it will lead to a new public inquiry.

'Shocking and outrageous' - these were some of the angry reactions to the comments by Professor Yehezkel Dror.

The highly respected political scientist was quoted by Ma'ariv as saying 'if Prime Minister Olmert was conducting a serious peace process with the Palestinians, this was a very important consideration'. Dror was also quoted as saying: 'Who would you prefer - Olmert and Ehud Barak as leaders or going to an early election and getting Bibi Netanyahu'.

oposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu (Photo: Amit Shabi)

This has created the impression that Dror supports Ehud Olmert to Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister, and the obvious conclusion is that he showed partiality towards Olmert during the inquiry. Although Dror now claims he was speaking as a private citizen and that his comments were later taken out of context, this cuts no ice with irate critics.

Commission chairman Eliyahu Winograd has found it necessary to issue a statement that his inquiry was free of political preferences and reached objective conclusions. Although the inquiry hauled Olmert over the coals for his conduct of the war, it let him off the hook. In fact, the enquiry was petering out before Dror rekindled a new furor. But despite the angry reactions to Dror's comments, Likud insiders do not see anything that can be done about them - the only solution would be an early election which does not appear to be in the offing.

David Essing

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