Amona commission to summon Olmert
Parliamentary commission investigating violence that erupted during Amona evacuation summons chief of staff, police chief, Central Command head. Olmert scheduled to testify 10 days before general elections Kadima refuses to send representative on its behalf. Commission head: We may force acting PM to show up
The parliamentary commission investigating the Amona riots held its first meeting on Monday. Four MKs will lead the investigation: Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Matan Vilnai (Labor), Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party), and Ilan Shalgi (Chetz) who will compose the final report and present it to the Knesset for approval.
The Commission decided to summon acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, and others. They also decided to summon Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, Chief of Police Moshe Karadi, Central Command Chief Yair Naveh, and the leaders of Yesha Council.
Olmert is scheduled to testify 10 days prior to the elections. For now, Kadima refuses to send a representative on its behalf.
Chairman of the Foreign Affaires and Defense Committee MK Yuval Steinitz, who also heads the Amona commission said. “We discussed the main venues of the investigation. The commission accepted my demands for a serious and objective inquiry, and that we will appoint a politically balanced team that will lead the hearing process and will be present in all the sessions".
Kadima chose to ignore the commission's existence. Kadima has no representative in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee since Ronnie Bar-On was appointed minister, and the party prefers to ignore the committee for the time being.
'One day after the election it will cease to exist'
Steinitz referred to the possibility that the acting PM will decline to appear in front of the commission, saying “We could certainly force him to show up, it doesn't make sense that he would decline. We never had a case of a PM refusing to appear in front of a Knesset Committee.
“I don't believe anyone would tamper with the committee's decision. It is unreasonable that Olmert would send the army chiefs to appear in front of the commission and he would not".
The parliament inquiry commission was established after last week the Knesset approved the proposal of Daniel Benlolo, Chairman of the House Committee. 34 MK voted to approve the proposal, and 21 opposed.
Olmert referred to the commission on Monday during a session of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and said, "One day after the election it will cease to exist. I won't let police officers and soldiers who came to uphold the law stand trial."
Chairman of the Likud Faction, Gideon Sa'ar commented on the inquiry commission: "The coalition of Olmert and the left with Kadima, Labor, Meretz, and the Arab parties was defeated by the national coalition headed by the Likud".
Steinitz also explained that "the Knesset decision to form the inquiry commission is indicative of the emotions that surfaced after a large number of people were injured (during the evacuation). The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will fulfill its task given by the Knesset in the utmost seriousness and fairness."