Dror: Winograd talks were unbiased

Winograd Committee member tells 'Post' that the c'tee was not swayed by pro-Olmert considerations.

dror 2 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
dror 2 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Prof. Yehezkel Dror, the Winograd Committee member embroiled in a political firestorm on Wednesday for purportedly indicating to Ma'ariv that the committee's judgments had been swayed by pro-Ehud Olmert political considerations, neither said nor implied this in a two-hour interview with The Jerusalem Post conducted on Monday and to be published in full on Friday. He did muse about his personal "skeptical" support for the peace process: "I'm for it, but I'm not sure it will work," he said. And he said that Israeli citizens in general, when considering whether the prime minister ought to resign over the handling of the Second Lebanon War, had to balance assessments of prime ministerial guilt alongside questions about the fate of that peace process, whether new elections would disrupt it, and other potential future consequences. "This is a matter for subjective judgment," he said. Dror stressed that he was making plain his personal attitude to the peace process "in the interests of full disclosure," and without reference to the work of the Winograd Committee. Personally, he said, he had not made up his mind as to whether the prime minister should resign. "I think it's a weakness that I cannot make up my mind," he said. "Maybe in another month, after I've relaxed a bit, I will be more determined... Maybe in a month, we will learn more about [where] the peace process [is going]." Ma'ariv's report of its interview, in which it asked whether the Winograd Committee had been skewed by political considerations, brought a denial from Dror, a statement from the committee that there were no extraneous considerations in its report, and criticism from MKs across the spectrum that Dror's remarks, if accurately quoted, discredited and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the entire committee. There were also calls for a new state inquiry into the war. Relating, in his interview with the Post, to the deliberations of the committee, Dror said he was "not sure" whether the panel, had it been empowered to do so, would have recommended resignations and other "retributive justice" in the case of Olmert and other Israeli leaders. "We didn't discuss it." He also said that no one on the committee had expected Olmert to resign on the basis of the final report, and that he himself "didn't expect it for a moment." Said Dror: "First of all, I don't say he should have resigned or not. I am only making a clinical analysis. Please, make this clear. "Now, after the first report, I could imagine, with 20-30 percent probability, that he would willingly or under pressure have resigned. Or go to elections. I wouldn't have expected it after the second report. Especially as the second report cleared him of what the protest movements wrongly focused on, namely the claim [rejected by the Winograd Committee] that he ordered soldiers to die for party-political and personal reasons." Asked why, unlike other members of the panel, he had chosen to give a small number of interviews after the publication of the report, Dror said he wanted to ensure its recommendations resonated. "The problems exposed during the war are manifest symptoms of deeper problematics of Israel policy thinking and policy action," he said. Sixty years of "heroic" success for Israel were no guarantee for the future, he said. "Therefore Israel must be very good in its crucial choices and in its thinking. It is not so in most areas, according to my evaluation. This is clearly demonstrated during the war of Lebanon." He wanted, he said, to highlight "that there are deep problems that require harsh treatment and painful treatment." Israel Prize-winner Dror, founding president of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, plainly relished his participation in the committee. "If Mephistopheles had approached me in a Faustian trade and told me, 'You get the appointment [to Winograd], but I shorten your lifespan by a couple of years,' I would have agreed immediately." The full interview with Dror will appear in Friday's Jerusalem Post.