Investigate and have commissions to investigate failures and shortcomings
Finally, Winograd Commission issued its report on the political and military failings of Israel’s war against Lebanon notwithstanding the one million cluster bombs George Bush and Condi Rice dispatched to Israel to kill as many Lebanese civilians as possible.
One has to give Israel lots of credits for having the will and the courage to form on many important occasions independent commissions to investigate political and military failures, a will and courage that simply does not exist and most likely never will exist in the Arab world.
Shortly after the end of the Yom Kippur war and the success of the Egyptian Army to cross the Sues Canal and destroy the famous Barlev lines, the Israeli government formed the Agranat Commission to investigate the failures of the army and the politicians which lead to the fall and resignations of Golda Meir as prime minister.
Again, and soon after the end of the 82 War on Lebanon and the massacres in Sabara and Shatilla, a war crime committed in partnership between the IDF and the Lebanese Forces, the government organized the Kahan Commission to investigate the war and the massacres leading to the resignation and indictment of Ariel Sharon (George Bush’s man of peace).
The Winograd report while not calling on Ehud Olmert to resign, did raise many questions of failures on the part of the IDF and of course was critical of the rush to war. The report conclude that Israel failed in both the conduct and the conclusion of the war on Lebanon, not withstanding the much support Israel received from the US, the EU and certainly from certain key groups within Lebanon, who like Israel felt the War on Lebanon may help certain groups within the sectarian structure and politics in Lebanon.
The IDF known and is in fact the most powerful army in the Middle East failed to achieve its objective of defeating several hundred Hezbollah fighters and failed to stop the falling of rockets on Northern Israel. Don Halutz, the chief of staff and Amir Peretz were forced to resign soon after the war ended after Israel dumped more than one million American cluster bombs (gift from George Bush to the Lebanese people) and the total destructions of Lebanon infrastructure, a war that was nothing short of war crime.
While Israel feels its political and legal system is strong enough to allow it to have such public commissions that takes on the leadership and most of all, the IDF, the Holy Cow, such commissions are totally absent and any talks of such commissions is consider a heresy in the Arab World.
In Lebanon, so many failures, so many mass murders and so many political assassinations, yet there was never an independent commission that took on the massacres in Tel-Zaater, or the massacres of Sabra and Shatila and of course we are all waiting to hear the conclusion of the commission looking into the assassination of the late Rafiq Al-Hariri. Never mind about the murder of so many politicians and never mind the murder of the late Kamal Jumblat. A murder that Mr. Walid hardly ever mentions. While Israel takes drastic measures against its leaders for their failures, in Lebanon, murderers and killers becomes ministers and leading politicians.
The Palestinian situation is no different from that of Lebanon. With so many failures and shortcomings in the last 60 years, there was never a commission to investigate any such failures. More than 5 millions in exiles and more than 3.5 millions under occupations.
There was never an independent commission to investigate the failures leading to the creation and founding of Israel. There was never a commission to investigate the deliberate failure of the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque by recent Jewish immigrant to Israel. There was never a commission that looked in the tragic events of Black September in Jordan 1970. There was never a commission to look into the murder of many Palestinian intellectuals some of whom were murdered by Israel others were murdered on the orders of the Palestinian leadership of Yasser Arafat. There was never an independent commission that looked into the attack on Tunis and the murder of Abu-Jihad. There was never a commission to look at the events leading to the PLO exile from Lebanon and subsequently the massacres in Sabra and Shatilla. There was never an independent commission that looked into the forced exile of more than 350,000 Palestinians from Kuwait as a direct result of Arafat support of his good friend Saddam Hussein.
There was never a commission to look into the accounts and financial failures of SAMED Industries and the billions lost. There was never a commission that looked into the billions lost or missing from the coffers of the PLO accounts and the money entrusted to Yasser Arafat. There was never a commission to investigate how did Arafat manage to use the people money to fund his wife Suha in Paris to the tune of tens of millions of dollars? or how did he, Arafat, managed to pay the former security agent within the Lebanese Phalange during Sabra and Shatilla massacre over $ 26 millions in compensation as a result of and under the influence of his wife Suha? There was never a commission to look into the tens of millions given to Suha as the widow of Arafat while thousands of widows did not even get couple of hundred dollars in compensation. There was never an independent commission to look into the billions missions from the PLO accounts of Yasser Arafat and the hundreds of millions stolen from the accounts of the Palestinian Authority. No need to mention Oslo and decision of the trio, Arafat, Qurai and Abbas to legitimize the Israeli Occupations, the settlements and the hundreds of security checkpoints.
In short there is never the courage or the institutional set up to hold officials accountable for their failures and shortcomings. In fact even if leaders manager to steal billions or cause the death of hundreds of thousands of their citizens, there is no one to hold them accountable, not the citizens, not the institutions, certainly not the mortal values. In other words, yes we can learn a lot from Israel.