The Governmental Commission of Inquiry for The Second Lebanon War, 2007
23 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2009 Last revised: 25 Mar 2009
Date Written: March 20, 2009
On 12 July 2006 Hezbollah forces opened fire on Israel with a barrage of missiles targeted at Israeli northern settlements. Concurrently, the organization infiltrated the northern border, kidnapped two I.D.F. soldiers from Israeli territory to Lebanon, killed eight soldiers and wounded several more. Israeli government immediately convened an emergency meeting in which it decided on an Israeli military response. The fighting that ensued in the wake of these events lasted thirty-four days during which hundreds of missiles were fired upon Northern Israel. It terminated on the morning of 14 August 2006, when the ceasefire decided upon by the Security Council of the U.N. came into force. The war took a death toll of one hundred and fifty Israeli soldiers and citizens. The war evoked a sharp sense of failure among the Israeli public and the feeling that overall, the war had been grossly mismanaged. As if to highlight the war's mismanagement, it took the Government an additional half a year to even officially declare that the military operation in Lebanon had actually been a 'war'. And so, immediately after the ceasefre, a public campaign began, calling upon the Government to establish a state commission of enquiry to investigate the failures of the war, and demanding the resignations of the national leadership: the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, and the Chief of Staff. After much hesitation, the Government decided against the establishment of a state commission of enquiry, deciding instead to set up a 'governmental commission of inquiry' to examine the conduct of the political and military levels at all stages of the war. The commission was headed by a retired district court judge, E. Winograd (hereinafter referred to as the 'Winograd Commission'). This article examines the various aspects of the Winograd Commission. Firstly we will present the tools provided by Israeli law for the investigation of wars and the history of commissions of enquiry. In this context we will explain existing distinctions between a state commission of enquiry and the Winograd commission, which was set up as a 'governmental commission of inquiry'. Then we will analyze the ongoing accompaniment-supervision of the Israeli Supreme Court, from the time of the commission's establishment until the submission of its final report.
Keywords: Israel, war, comission of inquiry
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