Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK Gal-On: Will have to settle for the interim report
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Yoav Galai
The Winograd Committee
Photo: Yoav Galai
Photo: Niv Calderon
Justice Eliyahu Winograd
Photo: Niv Calderon

Court partially accepts request to declassify war probe

Winograd Commission to be open to public? High Court issues interim order ruling that until final decision is made, only testimonies entailing hearings behind closed doors to be held. State believes only interim report, final report should be open to public

High Court Justice Edmond Levy on Wednesday partially accepted a petition filed by Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On, who demanded that the hearings of the Winograd Commission probing the Lebanon war failures be open to the public.


The judge issued an interim order, ruling that until a final decision is made on the petition, the committee will only listen to testimonies entailing a hearing behind closed doors for reasons of state security.


The judge added that his tendency was to fully accept the request, but that he did not do so "for fear of badly disrupting the committee's work." It was also decided that the next discussion on the petition would be held by next Friday.


Earlier Wednesday, the State Prosecutor's Office rejected Gal-On petition.


The Wingorad Commission is charged with investigating the conduct of the political and military echelon during the second war in Lebanon.


"The public's right to know will be realized by the interim and final reports of the committee, which will be available in the near future," said the State Prosecutor's Office on behalf of Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.


The interim report will also include several classified portions which will not be open to the public; it is possible that these portions contain findings pertaining to individual military or political leaders.


Gal-On demanded that the committee testimonial sessions be open to the public and that the protocols of the committee's deliberations also be available to the public except when there is an absolute risk of serious harm to national security.


In the State Prosecutor's Office's response, it was explained that over 60 testimonies have already been collected and that the committee members are of the opinion that the vast majority of testimonies heard included highly sensitive classified information and that there is no way to determine in advance if any given testimony will not include classified material due to the nature of the subject being investigated.


The prosecutor's office continued to say in their response that Justice Winograd has already informed MK Gal-On that her request cannot be accepted and the committee intends to release the interim report soon.


The State's reply indicates that the committee will release a report that will deal with the very heart of the country's stance on matters of security and foreign affairs. The committee has also been authorized to

address the matter of the state's future conduct and will recommend modifications in the decision making process of the political and security echelon.


One of the fears raised by the State's response however is that certain findings may be leaked to the enemy and seriously impair Israel's ability to handle the next war.


The State also cited the closed-doors policy of similar post-war committees: The Agranat Commission and the Cohen committee.


פרסום ראשון: 01.17.07, 17:31
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