Photo: Reuters
Defense Minister Amir Peretz
Photo: Reuters

Majority in Labor in favor of state inquiry

Labor party members waiting for statement by Defense Minister Peretz on setting up state commission of inquiry. Overwhelming majority of Labor members in favor of such committee. Will Peretz join them?

In the Labor faction there is an obvious majority of members in favor of an state commission of inquiry into the war in Lebanon. Fourteen members of the faction are in favor it and five are against.


Labor Party officials estimated that Defense Minister Amir Peretz will announce his stance on the issue in the coming days.


"Deep inside, he would have liked to have an state commission of inquiry," Peretz's associates told Ynet on Tuesday.


According to his associates, Peretz chose not to publicly comment on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to establish several

committees of inquiry, out of respect for the prime minister. Senior Labor members said that Peretz has a serious dilemma because he would be in favor of a state commission of inquiry.


These facts are contrary to what Peretz announced in private discussions last week, when he was asked if he is interested in having such a committee, he said "I hope there will not be one."


Sources at the defense minister's office said that Peretz has not yet come to a decision and he is preoccupied with consultations concerning the activities of the commission of inquiry which will inspect the performance of the defense estbalishment.


Peretz's close associates indicated that "it is not clear who started the rumor that Amir is against the prime minister's declaration."


'Amir does not express opinion'

Until recently it appeared that Peretz, Yuli Tamir, Isaac Herzog, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Shalom Simhon were opposed to a state commission of inquiry, but now it appears there could be a factor which could encourage greater support for a committee.


On Friday, the Labor faction is expected to convene in Tel Aviv in order to discuss the budget, and it is possible that the defense minister may announce that he supports the creation of an official committee of inquiry.


"If there will be a discussion in the faction, and an overwhelming majority of the faction members say they support an official committee, it could be that Amir will decide to support it as well," said a faction senior member.


In the last few days, the defense minister consulted with Labor senior members and his close advisors regarding the commission of inquiry. The faction members he spoke to recommended that he support a state commission of inquiry, but some of his associates told him that if he would declare that he does not support the committees established by the prime minister, it will lead to a severe trust crisis between him and Olmert, and maybe even to a coalition crisis.


"As of now, Amir does not express his opinion, despite the fact that he does not see eye to eye with Olmert," said a senior Labor member who is a close associate of Peretz.


פרסום ראשון: 08.30.06, 00:17
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