Winograd panelist draws fire


A member of Israel’s Winograd Commission drew fire for remarks suggesting sympathy for the Olmert government.

Yehezkel Dror caused uproar among Israeli rightists Wednesday with a Ma’ariv interview in which he said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s attempts to make peace with the Palestinians are a “respectable consideration” that should be weighed against calls for his ouster.

Dror was on the five-member Winograd Commission that delivered a final report last month censuring the government and the military for various setbacks in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, but stopped short of demanding that Olmert resign.

Further incensing the prime minister’s critics, who saw partisan interests as guiding the Winograd conclusions, Ma’ariv quoted Dror as asking his interviewer, “What would you prefer? An Olmert-Barak government or new elections in which Netanyahu would come to power?”

Dror told Army Radio following the outcry that he was speaking as a private citizen, and that his views on Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu had no influence on the final war report.

“When they read the interview in full, they will see my balanced and apolitical approach,” he said.

A spokesman for the Winograd Commission voiced regret at the Dror interview but said it did not reflect the panel’s work.

The Knesset Audit Committee said it would summon Dror next week for further discussions.

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