Amnon Lipkin Shahak
Photo: Michael Kramer
Teva Chairman Eli Hurvitz

Peretz orders probe into war

Two and a half days after ceasefire comes into force, defense minister appoints external commission of inquiry to look into IDF, defense establishment's conduct before, during fighting in Lebanon

Self examination underway: Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Wednesday evening informed the chief of staff and the Israel Defense Forces' top brass that he has decided to appoint an external commission of inquiry, which will look into the army's conduct during and before the second war in Lebanon.


The committee will be headed by Former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, and among its participants will be Former Israel Air Force Chief Major-General (res.) Herzl Bodinger, former Defense Ministry Director-General Major-General (res.) Ilan Biran, and Ami Sagis, former head of logistics at the IDF.


The civil aspect will be provided by Eli Hurvitz, chairman of the board of the leading pharmaceutical company Teva.


The mandate given to the committee includes the issue of the IDF and the defense establishment's planning and preparedness before and during the war. Within three weeks, the committee will submit intermediate conclusions to the defense minister.


Peretz made it clear that the committee's aim is not to find failures, but to examine the entire war issue in order to draw conclusions for the future.  


Sources at the Prime Minister's Office refused to say if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had welcomed the setting up of an commission of inquiry by Peretz.


"The prime minister was updated by the defense minister on his intentions," a source at the Prime Minister's Office said.


Political echelon not part of mandate


In the two and a half days that have passed since the ceasefire came into effect, bringing 33 days of massive fighting on the front and the home front to an end, more and more worrying testimonies were heard. Surprising accounts about the IDF's state, equipment and reserves system were voiced.


Voices have also grown calling for an official commission of inquiry, which will also reach the political echelon.


IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who addressed the issue on Tuesday, noted the army did not take a stance on the need for an external investigation, and will carry out everything it is charged to do.


The IDF plans to appoint a senior officer, either in reserves or compulsory service, who does not have direct contact to the war in the north, in order to concentrate all of the IDF's internal checks, parallel to the committee appointed by Peretz.


The current committee will only look into the defense establishment's conduct, and will not reach the political echelon in Jerusalem. It has still not been determined whether the committee would be authorized to recommend that certain officials should draw personal conclusions.


Ronny Sofer contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 08.16.06, 18:18
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