At the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem Saturday, a consultation is being held about the nature of the investigation of the war in Lebanon. At this stage, according to associates of the prime minister, Olmert has yet to decide on a response to calls for the establishment of a national commission of inquiry. Olmert has requested assistance from Attorney General Menachem Mazuz in presenting the various options for investigation.
Over the weekend, the wave of public protests calling for the establishment of a national commission of inquiry continued. Dozens of motorcyclists participated in a solidarity ride with the reserve soldiers calling for the establishment of commission of inquiry to investigate the failures of the war in Lebanon. The procession, including various kinds of motorcycles, departed Beit Degan junction and rode to the Rose Garden in Jerusalem where the protest tent of the reservists is located.
Hundreds of people participated Friday in a protest march of reserve soldiers and bereaved families. The marchers left from a memorial near Beit Shemesh and ended at the burial site of Golda Meir on Mount Herzl, where they had a moment of silence in memory of the fallen. The marchers called Olmert to follow Golda Meir's example and resign.
If a national commission of inquiry is decided upon, it will be assembled according to the Commission of Inquiry Law, but its composition will be determined by the president of the High Court of Justice, with a justice of the court heading the commission. The name of the departing President of the High Court, Aharon Barak, came up as a candidate to head such a commission.
A national commission of inquiry can summon witnesses, investigate and demand the presentation of documents. It must hold public deliberations, and must publish its findings to the public and the government generally cannot ignore them.
Among the famous commissions of inquiry established throughout the existence of the State of Israel were the Agranat Commission to investigate the failures of the Yom Kippur War (1973-74), whose recommendations brought about the dismissal of Chief of Staff David Elazar, and the Cohen Commission to investigate the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre (1982), whose recommendations brought about the dismissal of then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon.