The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has begun to take the testimonies of Israel Defense Forces soldiers and senior officers as a part of their probe into the failures of the war in Lebanon.
Over the next few months, the committee will hear testimonies from decision makers from the political echelons, starting with the prime minister, minister of defense, the chief of staff, and other senior officers which were invited by the media to come and testify.
During this first day of testimonies, about 10 officers and soldiers gave their testimony. All witnesses were asked if they agree that the information they give could be used by other investigative bodies within the army and the Winograd commission.
During the meeting, an embarrassing incident happed when part of the top-secret testimony given to the committee was heard over the loudspeaker system in the Tel Aviv Convention Center where the meeting took place. Knesset Member Zvi Hendel noticed the gaffe and quickly notified the members that the top-secret testimony was being heard loud and clear outside of the hall.
Severe equipment problems
The first meeting included a testimony of a reservist soldier from the armored corps who said that during the fighting he and his comrades had encountered severe equipment problems. He even said that because of those problems some tank commanders had refused to enter Lebanon.
The soldier also said that over the past period, the soldiers were not trained in antitank protection methods.
Another soldier who spoke to the committee said that him and his fellow soldiers had entered the village of Aita al-Shaab without any clear instructions on what they had to do.