debkafile: Knesset Committee hears a truncated interim report by the State Controller on home front mismanagement in Lebanon War
The Controller Micha Lindenstrauss accepted the High Court ruling to postpone presentation of his findings and recommendations to a later date, after Attorney General Menahem Mazuz declined to represent him at the High Court hearing of the Home Front commander’s petition against the Knesset session.
Lindenstrauss and the Knesset State Control Committee’s chairman Zvulun Orlev (opp. NRP) both bowed to heavy pressure from prime minister Ehud Olmert’s office. The Knesset panel’s session Tuesday, March 6, was accordingly confined to procedural data from the State Controller. Left out were conclusions, recommendations and the names of the government figures and institutions harshly criticized in his report.
Lindenstrauss listed by date the prime minister’s delaying tactics in submitting the necessary materials and protocols for compiling his report. Some documents are still withheld. Olmert was the only government member who refused to testify before the control team, he reported.
debkafile adds: Olmert’s muzzling tactics against the State Controller are generally seen as a warm-up for emasculating the Winograd commission’s comprehensive report on the government’s management of the Lebanon War, which is due out in weeks. It is widely expected to point a remorseless finger at the prime minister, defense ministry, interior minister, the chief of staff (who has since resigned) and the army’s home front command.
The Lindenstrauss report covers the Hizballah rocket battering of northern Israel for 33 days in July and August 2006, claiming 43 civilian lives and leaving hundreds injured. Homes, villages, farms, businesses, industries and infrastructure were ravaged. More than a million people, including invalids, sweltered through the war in woefully inadequate bomb shelters without basic supplies; hundreds of thousands fled south. Graphic descriptions abound of the Olmert government’s failure to prepare this population for a war emergency or attend to its needs. In the intervening seven months, local authority leaders report the government has failed to make good on pledges to put things right and make sure the population is properly prepared in case of another conflict.