What Is Hateful to It Shall Be Done to It

Two times hath the Winograd Committee denied the High Court of Justice: Once, when it promised to behave like a state commission of inquiry, and again when it promised to release the (censored) transcripts of testimonies before Pesach.

From now on, everyone and their uncle will try to mislead the justices and even succeed at least some of the time. The status of Israel's courts has never been lower, and ironically it is those who are responsible for enforcing the law who are to blame.

It is not only the High Court that will suffer as a result of the Winograd Committee's actions, or inaction. The committee itself will also be hurt, and what is hateful to it shall now be done to it. If the ruling by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and her colleagues can be ignored, then the conclusions of former judge Eliyahu Winograd and his colleagues can certainly be ignored. After all, a government examination committee is not a court and its conclusions are not legal rulings.

The first signs of the fate that awaits the Winograd Committee's highly anticipated report appeared in Friday's weekend newspapers, with hints that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has no intentions of surrendering unconditionally whatever the report contains. He is holed up in his office, bolstered up from the left as well, and any minute now he will be wrapped in cotton wool, despite the prohibition against wrapping an etrog after a war or before an investigation.

Olmert is getting ready for the battle of his life. When the interim report is released he may be in for a few days of turbulence, but Olmert is an old hand at being jolted and also humiliated. He'll get by; he's not the kind of guy who cuts and runs.

There have also been hints that even the most respected committee is simply not all that. It won't be the one that decides what a war is or is not, and it won't be the one to level the boom.

The prime minister knows best. Besides, the ones who appointed the committee can also put words in its mouth. Even before the ink dries the report will make its way to the cramped and dusty shelf in the bowels of the archives and it will be as if the Winograd Committee never existed. About this, it has been said, "What is hateful to you, do not do unto others."