Winograd Report Does Not Bring Down Olmert


At least thus far, the coalition partner’s in Ehud Olmert’s current government seemed poised to remain where it is, even after the release of the Winograd Report — which criticizes the government for its actions and decision-making in the Lebanon War.
I strongly support President Bush’s efforts to get some kind of deal track set between Abbas and Olmert on a negotiated two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. In the current climate, Olmert is probably the best leader Israel has, perhaps other than Foreign Minister Livni, who might be able to deliver politically on a peace arrangement.
There are a lot of obstacles that have to be overcome in the next 11 months, but at least the Winograd Report is in the past now.

— Steve Clemons


16 comments on “Winograd Report Does Not Bring Down Olmert

  1. arthurdecco says:

    Israel has no moral authority, bob h.
    None. Nada. Zip.


  2. bob h says:

    I would have hoped that this report would have dealt with the malicious destruction of Lebanese infrastructure unrelated to Hezbollah’s war effort and the unnecessarily large number of innocent Lebanese killed.
    Israel’s moral authority was severely undermined by the collective punishment of Lebanese powerless to do anything about Hezbollah, and that ought to be of serious concern to Israelis.


  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    There are no words to describe how evil these people are
    Israel continues to refuse to tell international sappers where it dropped its illegal cluster bombs on Lebanon.
    LEBANON: Deminers find new cluster bomb sites without Israeli data
    – Deminers clearing Israeli-dropped cluster bombs in south Lebanon are turning up an average of 10 new sites per month, while Israel continues to ignore requests for data that would assist clearing the estimated one million unexploded bomblets, which continue to kill and maim civilians and decimate rural livelihoods. A single cluster bomb can disperse hundreds of bomblets.
    [Read this report in Arabic]
    “All these weapons systems are computerised and grid references are entered before the bombs drop. Not receiving the cluster bomb strike data from the Israelis remains our biggest obstacle to clearance,” Dalya Farran, a spokeswoman for the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre for South Lebanon (MACSL), told IRIN.
    The UN estimates that Israel rained down around four million bomblets – most US-supplied – onto south Lebanon in the last three days of its 2006 July war with Hezbollah fighters, when a ceasefire had already been agreed.
    Fields of Fire: Cluster bombs in Lebanon
    [Arabic] [English]
    In a 24 December report last year the Israeli military cleared itself of accusations that it had violated international law in its use of cluster bombs to fight Hezbollah. In a statement, the army said its chief investigator, Maj-Gen Gershon HaCohen, said: “It was clear that the majority of the cluster munitions were fired at open and uninhabited areas, areas from which Hezbollah forces operated and in which no civilians were present.”
    Around one million of the bomblets failed to explode on impact, leaving roads, schools, homes and fields littered with lethal explosives that detonate when touched, making them a danger similar to anti-personnel mines.
    High failure rates
    Cluster bombs, or sub-munitions, are legal, and manufacturers say their failure rates should be between 10-15 percent. The UN estimates in general the weapons fail between 20-30 percent of the time. In south Lebanon MACSL estimates between 30-40 percent of the bombs dropped failed to explode, rising up to 80 percent in some places.
    The high failure rate may partly be explained by Israel’s use of Vietnam-war era munitions, such as the M42, M77 and Blue 63, all US or Israeli-made and the MZD2, made in China, many of which MACSL said had gone beyond their expiry date by the time they were dropped on Lebanon.
    The Israelis also dropped the new M85 cluster bomb that is designed to self destruct if it fails to explode on impact and which manufacturers say has a 1 percent failure rate. MACSL’s Dalya Farran said they estimate the bomb, used for the first time on battlefields in Lebanon, had a 10 percent failure rate.
    “By their nature, cluster bombs are very likely to fail,” said Farran. “They are not accurate and not reliable. When they fail they become more or less like land mines, and actually worse as they are spread over a very large area.” – hm/ar/cb
    More strike sites
    Initial estimates by MACSL that most of the unexploded munitions would be cleared by the end of last year have been revised to the end of this year.
    Since the end of the war, over 30 Lebanese have been killed and over 200 injured, many permanently disabled from the loss of a limb after accidentally triggering an unexploded bomblet. The state provides no direct support for cluster bomb victims.
    At the end of October 2006, two months after the end of the war, MACSL recorded 796 individual locations as infected with unexploded ordnance, totalling 32 million square metres of land.
    By late last month that figure had risen to 961 strike locations, totalling 38 million square metres. According to MACSL, 137,000 bomblets have so far been safely destroyed, mainly in high priority areas, such as roads, homes and schools.
    Farmers risk all
    Tens of thousands of the bomblets still lie on farmland, however, making agriculture – the mainstay of the economy in south Lebanon on which 16,000 families depend – a dangerous and increasingly unprofitable pursuit.
    continues at….


  4. susan says:

    Amnesty Int’l: Winograd report fails to address Israel’s war crimes
    By Haaretz Service
    Human rights organization Amnesty International on Thursday called the Winograd Commission’s final report on Israel’s conduct during the Second Lebanon War, published Wednesday, “deeply flawed,” in its failure to address war crimes committed by Israel.
    The organization said that the report failed to investigate government policies and military strategies that didn’t discriminate between the Lebanese civilian population and Hezbollah combatants and between civilian property and infrastructure and military targets.
    “This was yet another missed opportunity to address the policies and decisions behind the grave violations of international humanitarian law , including war crimes, committed by Israeli forces,” said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.
    “The indiscriminate killings of many Lebanese civilians not involved in the hostilities and the deliberate and wanton destruction of civilian properties and infrastructure on a massive scale were given no more than token consideration by the commission,” said Smart.
    The press release explained that that though the Winograd inquiry committee was not vested with the powers of an official state commission of investigation, it had the power to subpoena witnesses and recommend the prosecution of officials it found to have been responsible for willful or negligent criminal conduct.
    According to Amnesty International, “the [Winograd Commission] chose to limit its work to reviewing military strategy and political decisions…and made to effort to recommend measures for holding those responsible for [serious violations] to account. It recommends the development of mechanisms to ensure the effectiveness of fighting within the framework of international humanitarian law standards [and] immediate investigations by the army when there are concerns that international humanitarian law was violated and better preparedness for responding to humanitarian problems arising from military action.”
    “But it essentially brushed aside available evidence of serious violations of international law, claiming that interpretations of international humanitarian law are controversial, that it did not have the capacity to deal with the volume of data, that the alleged violations were already being investigated by other bodies, and that such allegations are used as propaganda against Israel, whereas it did scrutinize military strategies and the conduct of certain operations in detail, including in cases which were already being investigated separately.”
    Based on its on-the-ground research and analysis of the conduct of hostilities in 2006, Amnesty International concluded that the Lebanese civilian population paid the heaviest price for the Israel Defense Force attacks.
    “Of some 1,190 people killed, the vast majority were civilians not involved in the hostilities, among them hundreds of children. The overwhelming majority of homes, properties and infrastructure targeted in air strikes and artillery attacks were likewise civilian.”
    “Although the Winograd Commission recommended that the army review its policies on the use of cluster bombs to ensure that the use of these weapons will not violate international humanitarian law and army discipline, it did not propose any concrete measures,” said Smart.
    Amnesty International called on Israel’s government to provide data on the use of cluster bombs during the Second Lebanon War, establish an independent and impartial investigation into evidence indicating that IDF forces committed serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the conflict, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.


  5. Carroll says:

    January: Conflicts Killed 108 Palestinians, Three Israelis, UN Says
    So much for those “thousands’ of rockets a month Israel claims Hamas is sending them.
    Freaking nazis.
    Every time I think about Israel-Palestine I want to nuke Washington into oblivion.
    Too bad I’am not a terrier, we could use a good group of freedom fighters in this county.


  6. arthurdecco says:

    Do you have to either be a psychopath or a Pollyanna clone to work in Washington these days?
    Mr. Clemons appears to be one of the latter with his wish for a two state resolution to the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians by that pariah we call Israel. (We can’t describe Israel a state, can we? States have recognized borders. States have constitutions.)
    NO good will come from ANY concocted arrangement Bush and Olmert dream up behind their very own Quisling Abbas’ back – only more mayhem and murder, because, as we have seen for the past 60 years, Zionists aren’t remotely interested in peace with their landlords and neighbors – they’re only interested in capitulation. Capital “C” Capitulation.
    Zionists don’t care how many innocent people have to be crushed, shot, beaten, imprisoned, stolen from, terrorized and murdered if it serves their interests over their victims’ interests. That has been demonstrated time and time again by their actions on and over the ground they covet and claim as theirs based on 2500 year old writings by a bunch of delusional madmen who believed they talked one on one with gawd. Who, in their right mind, could swallow that rationale for what they do today to all those who reject their codswallop?
    I mean really… (rolls eyes here), how can anyone believe a word these serial liars say? How much evidence do you need before you acknowledge their never-ending crap about desiring peace while waging perpetual war as self-serving, propagandistic Crap?
    Their whole economy and social order is built on WAR, DESTRUCTION and DEATH. Peace would destroy their Zionist warrior cult and most of their economy.
    Peace is the last thing these thieves and murderers want, Mr. Clemons. Two States is an idiotic, pie in the sky sound bite that bears no relationship with reality. Just look at a current map of the region if you doubt me.
    The only credible solution for the region is one country for all of its citizens, no matter their ethnicity or religion. But that’s not ever going to happen as long as the United States of America is being led around by the nose by the home-grown thugs and goons who march in lockstep with right wing, Zionist Israel, is it?


  7. Sandy says:

    What Carroll said at 12:24


  8. Carroll says:

    And this will grow and grow and grow, not only in every nook and cranny in the ME, but around the world since the US is identified as Zionist, not American any more.
    OSC: HAMAS-Iraq Launches ‘Avenging Gaza’ Campaign Against US Forces in Iraq
    The USG Open Source Center summarizes and translates a posting on a jihadi web site of Iraqi guerrillas vowing to “avenge Gaza” by targeting American troops and the Iraqis that cooperate with them.
    ‘HAMAS-Iraq Launches ‘Avenging Gaza’ Campaign Against US Forces in Iraq 19 Jan
    Jihadist Websites — OSC Summary
    Thursday, January 24, 2008 . . .
    Terrorism: HAMAS-Iraq Launches ‘Avenging Gaza’ Campaign Against US Forces 19 Jan On 19 January, a forum participant posted to a jihadist website a statement issued by the Al-Fatah al-Islami Command, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS-Iraq, in which the group announced the launch of a one-week military campaign for ‘avenging Gaza.’ According to the group, the campaign targets the US Army. The statement was attributed to the Media Center of the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS-Iraq.
    A translation of the statement follows:
    “In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate.
    “‘Verily, We have granted thee a manifest Victory.’ (Koranic verse, Al-Fath 48:1)
    “Statement Number 134
    “Week for Avenging Gaza
    “As stated in the authenticated Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, stated: ‘Believers are supporting each other, like a structured building. Then, the Prophet, peace be upon him, crossed his fingers.’ Ibn Kathir, may god enfold him in His mercy, stated: ‘When God mentioned the notorious attributes of the hypocrites, He coupled that with mentioning the good attributes of the believers by saying: The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another (Koranic verse, Al-Tawbah 9:71).’ (Ibn Kathir’s explanation of the Holy Koran; volume 2, page 370).
    “Pursuant to these divine instructions, and due to the economic embargo and military aggression that are condoned by the American enemy and that our people are suffering in Gaza, the Al-Fatah al-Islami Command, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS-Iraq, has decided to dedicate the current week to avenging Gaza. In this statement, the command calls on all military sectors to exert the maximum effort to inflict the heaviest casualties on the occupation and its quislings, considering the loss among the American enemy ranks a loss among the Zionist entity occupation forces.
    “God is the Greatest. But honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the Hypocrites know not.’ (partial Koranic verse, Al-Munafiqun 63:08)
    “The Media Center
    “Islamic Resistance Movement
    “11 Muharram 1429, corresponding to 19 January 2008.”


  9. Carroll says:

    Israel will never agree to peace until they have every last piece of Palestine and transfered the Palestines to Egypt or Jordon, anyone who does not understand this has not been paying attention.
    And we all know why…the corruption of the zionist cult operating in our country and our Israeli congress.
    “Right and wrong are the same in Palestine as anywhere else. What is peculiar about the Palestine conflict is that the world has listened to the party that has committed the offence and has turned a deaf ear to the victims.”
    — Arnold Toynbee; British Historian
    But every one can keep on discussing it as if it is just a political and diplomatic problem instead of a fundmental and universal moral problem for another 50 years.


  10. JohnH says:

    “I strongly support President Bush’s efforts to get some kind of deal track set between Abbas and Olmert on a negotiated two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.”
    This is like supporting Santa Claus, notorious for deceiving seven year olds year after year. Nice intentions aside, it is totally naive to even hope for results from two leaders with the lowest approval ratings in the history of their jobs.
    And then there is the issue of the “peace” initiative’s incomparably incompetent project manager, Condi Rice.
    Unfortunately, her total incompetence was not revealed sooner and is still not generally acknowledged. But it’s reaching epic proportioons. Apparently the 911 Commission was prevented from “submitting a report that would have depicted Rice’s performance as “amount[ing] to incompetence, or something not far from it.”
    If Bush were serious, he would appoint a project manager who could get the job done.


  11. Jeff Dexter says:

    And one of those obstacles is the dispute over who should control the Rafah border (Hamas or Fatah), however therein lies an opportunity, either way would have reverberations for the peace negotiations with Israel.


  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “There are a lot of obstacles that have to be overcome in the next 11 months….”
    Gee, is that Steve’s entry for the “Understatement Of The Year Award”?
    I don’t suppose Steve considers the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza one of those “obstacles”? Or perhaps the fact that Israel is refusing to give the Lebanese de-mining teams the coordinates to where the cluster munitions were targeting is yet one more “obstacle”. Israel doesn’t want peace, it wants dead Muslims, the more the better.


  13. Lurker says:

    A two state solution is baloney: it reinforces the inherent apartheid nature of Israel, a self-avowed Jewish state.
    Why should the U.S., a purportedly secular country, back a country that allows true equality to Jews and Jews alone, out of the myriad religious and ethnic groups that have been subjected to persecution over the course of the millenia? The persecuted now including the Palestinians/ Lebanese/ Iraqis via the hands of the Israelis.
    Why should my tax dollars be spent on what is institutionalized discrimination? With the blowback being endless hatred directed towards the U.S. from the entire world?
    And Steve, honestly, read the Israeli papers and watch Israeli TV occasionally (via Mosaic at
    IIRC Livni was behind Megaphone — that *wonderful* computer program/ propaganda organ that allows Jews worldwide to be alerted and then electronically rush to the defense of Zion anytime a brave soul dares to criticize Israel’s policies.
    She’s a player, Livni is, much smarter than Olmert, much more charming, and probably much more ruthless.
    And in regards to the Lebanon invasion Part III (the 2006 version) the Lebanese general who helped draw-up the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon said, as did the early press, that the Israeli soldiers were in Lebanese territory.
    But no matter, as Israel routinely over flies her neighbors and makes incursions into their territories.
    Remind me again why Israel isn’t in Germany?


  14. p.lukasiak says:

    Do you really think that Olmert can negotiate any kind of deal with Abbas that excludes Hamas from participation? I mean, Hamas did win the parliamentary elections….
    Quite frankly, “strongly supporting” what Bush is doing is the equivalent of strongly supporting a game of three-card monte. You’re supporting a fraud, a game in which misdirection is used to cheat the observer.
    Are you really that naive?


  15. D. Rapscallion Anywhey says:

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  16. CTown says:

    Steve, do you think a Democratic administration in the U.S. in 2009 would insist on concessions by Israel that the Bush administration would not, which adds further pressure for them to wrap this up before the next election in either country?


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