Since Defense Minister Amir Peretz often consulted with Shahak during the fighting, many critics of the committee said it was inappropriate to appoint Shahak to the head of a committee to investigate the Israel Defense Forces' management of the war.
Likud Faction Chairman Knesset Member Gideon Sa'ar said Wednesday in response: "As was released in the press, Shahak took part in a forum of consultations held by the defense minister during the war. Peretz's choice actually underlines the urgent need for an official state committee which will be composed by the president of the high court, who is independent and legally empowered to appoint a committee of investigation."
"The defense minister decided that there is a need for an investigation, but he is fully involved himself in the issue and is not entitled to decide on the context of the investigation, its scope, and the members of the committee. The main point is, he cannot minimize the investigation to the IDF alone and exclude the government from the investigation," said Sa'ar.
'Failure to claim responsibility'
Knesset Member and National Union Faction Chairman Uri Ariel claimed that "Peretz's committee is a failure to claim responsibility and is spitting in the face of the fighters. The public in general, and soldiers who fought in particular, are demanding a real investigation that will include the government and especially the prime minister and the defense minister. The current committee won't do that."
Meretz Faction Chairwoman Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On said: "It is illogical that the defense minister, who is one of those responsible for the serious security failures during the war, is the one who appoints the investigation which should also investigate him. Peretz's committee is an attempt to take out a state committee which also needs to investigate the government and the IDF."
Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin said: "No attempt by Peretz to set up an internal committee will be accepted as a replacement for a state committee that will look at diplomatic, military, and social aspects of the second Lebanon war. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak is an excellent appointment in a state investigation committee, which will be established after the government makes its maneuvers in order to avoid it."
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report