The importance of serious, thorough and biting probes into government conduct was once again proven on Wednesday. The double-barreled report submitted by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss - on the Turkish-sponsored flotilla to Gaza in May 2010 and the National Security Staff - unveils another gloomy collection of flaws and failures in the conduct of our most senior officials, for which ultimate responsibility rests with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The comptroller's findings were harsh, but it's doubtful they will help to prevent a reoccurrence, because they aren't backed by any action aimed at giving substance to this responsibility. If the comptroller is still under the illusion that the public will rise up and demand an accounting from their elected representatives, he is destined for a rude awakening in the coming days.
The same will undoubtedly be true after he publishes a harsh report on responsibility for the abysmal state of the firefighting services at the time of the 2010 Carmel fire. A draft of this report essentially urged the ouster of both the interior minister and the finance minister, while ascribing ultimate responsibility to the prime minister.
In the absence of a strong opposition, there is currently no one to exact a price from Netanyahu for his arrogant response to the comptroller's latest report - a response that didn't devote so much as a word to the findings themselves and instead sanctified "the test of results" as being all that matters. In this test, Netanyahu is both the test-taker and the grader, and he gave himself full marks: "Israeli citizens are enjoying a level of security the likes of which have not been seen for many years," as a "direct result of responsible management and determined policy."
Netanyahu deliberately chose to violate the National Security Council Law by not involving the National Security Staff in the decision-making process in general, including over the flotilla raid. This is a grave matter in and of itself: The head of the executive branch is ignoring the law because he considers it flawed and in need of amendment.
But even viewed strictly from the standpoint of its content, the report found that faulty preparation for the flotilla caused a severe crisis with Turkey and has put Israel Defense Forces officers at risk when they travel abroad. The report exposed the shallowness of the preparations at the most senior level of government, which wasn't wise enough to integrate military, diplomatic, legal and public-relations efforts. And all this is a harbinger of things to come.
In this report, the comptroller showed a yellow card to Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in an effort to prevent reality from showing a red card to the State of Israel.
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