Forum of seven senior ministers
Caricatures of forum of seven senior ministers, From left: Benny Begin, Avigdor Lieberman, Moshe Ya'alon, Eli Yishai, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Dan Meridor Photo by Amos Biderman
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After only two days of main testimony, we can already sum up: There is no longer any doubt that it was a failure, clearly the Israel Defense Forces is to blame. The Turkel Committee can begin formulating its conclusions.

It is also clear now why IDF commanders and soldiers are not allowed to give their version of events to the committee. First they duped us into believing that the leaders would protect them with leader-like chivalry. But now the picture is clearer: Netanyahu and Barak will point a finger at the army, while the army will be unable to respond and protect itself. Only the top soldier will have his say today, one against two, and try to extricate himself from the trap they set.

It is finally clear why the minister is so hell-bent on getting rid of the chief of staff. The person who shamed the government and presented it as an empty vessel full of disgrace must go home. The committee is also invited to help push Ashkenazi out. The scapegoat is ready, stewed in the milk of his superiors.

Was it not the IDF that was praised for its heroism and resourcefulness right after the flotilla, with people taking to the streets in its support? Was it not Ashkenazi who rehabilitated the bad old IDF that was defeated in Lebanon? Was not Defense Minister Barak plucked from his business only because he is an expert, as opposed to that total layman Amir Peretz? Suddenly, in two days of open doors and closed doors, once again our army is revealed in its powerlessness and poor judgment. Just ask Netanyahu and Barak.

The Turkel Committee, which was formed to investigate the flotilla, is actually investigating the situation. Here you have the two leaders, the first to jump ship. The only difference between them is that one looks frightened and tense, and the other haughty and self-assured.

At any moment he might sink his audience in a sea of details. I myself have been present on many such occasions. And he is ready at any given moment to pounce on the next adventure.

These were two days of neck-and-neck competition: Who will take more responsibility, while simultaneously fobbing it off on others. But responsibility is like respect - the more you run after it, the more it runs away. It will apparently catch up only with Ashkenazi, as it caught up with the chief of staff of the Yom Kippur War, David Elazar.

"I am responsible," means I am a minister. But when was the last time a prime minister or a minister took responsibility, instead of just taking its name in vain?

The day after the flotilla, the title of this column was "Seven idiots in the cabinet." Some people said we had exaggerated. Today, based on what has already been revealed, we may conclude that we have not been able to exaggerate for some time.

The flotilla opening a small allegorical window, illuminating the situation in general: Dear citizens: you have been abandoned. If that is the way of the flotilla, just a flotilla, imagine true tests of peace and war, life and death.

It is a matter of life and death to get rid of this government. Don't ask who the alternative is. If these bunglers have no replacement, the situation is very grave indeed.