Livni credits Winograd report with improving government

"The discussions are longer, more balanced, you hear more opinions and get more data," says Foreign Minister.

livni 88  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
livni 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The damning commission of inquiry into the government's mishandling of the war in Lebanon last year has helped improve the decision-making process of the government, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday. "I hear that it is said that the deliberations in the government are being held in Winograd sauce," Livni said in an address on the crisis in government sponsored by The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, referring to the name of the government-sponsored commission of inquiry. "Now the discussions are longer, more balanced, you hear more opinions and get more data," she said. The unusually harsh report on the war last summer said that Olmert bore overall responsibility and suffered from poor judgment, hasty decision-making and shortsightedness. Livni, who has come under massive public criticism for failing to bolt the government following the release of the inquiry's initial report, rejected criticism that the badly weakened government has become paralyzed and impotent in its wake. "The criticism is not paralyzing [the government]," she insisted. "The criticism is not just right but critical to the continuance of our existence, and for the creation of a better decision-making process," she added. Nevertheless, with the commission's final report due out this summer, Livni still sought to distance herself, albeit indirectly, from the country's war-time leadership. "Whoever's hands are clean has no problem with transparency," she said. Last month, Livni, Kadima's most popular minister in an otherwise deeply unpopular government, urged Olmert to resign, but stopped short of bolting the government herself. Her decision to call for Olmert's removal but remain in a government he headed was met with scorn by political analysts who questioned her leadership abilities. In her address to the government watchdog group's annual Jerusalem conference, Livni also leveled tepid criticism at supporters of former justice minister Haim Ramon for criticizing the court for convicting him of indecent assault of a female soldier. She said criticism of the court did not weaken their authority, but strengthened it, adding that transgressors in the political system should not be entitled to automatic defense from their colleagues.