PM's aides: Peretz's behavior foolish
Olmert's aides slam defense minister's decision to toe Labor party line,
support establishment of state commission of inquiry. 'Peretz acting like man
under pressure, trying to save his own skin,' source close to PM says
Latest Update: 09.01.06, 00:52
Defense Minister Amir Peretz has changed his mind and decided to support the
establishment of a state commission of inquiry to investigate the Lebanon war,
sources close to Peretz reported Thursday.
In light of the growing public and partisan pressure exerted on the defense
minister in recent days to oppose the governmental inquiry commissions
appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Peretz consulted with his advisors
how he should act. The minister is now expected to demand the setting up of an
inquiry commission headed by a judge, along with the majority of his faction
Close aides of the PM were infuriated with Peretz's decision.
"This behavior is foolish. Amir Peretz is acting like a politician who lost
all control," they said. "His decision is surprising since he was the first to
announce the commission of inquiry led by Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. He's acting
like a man under pressure who is trying to save his skin," they stated.
Meanwhile, officials in the Prime Minister's Office said that "the defense
minister has the right to do what he sees fit. We are not happy with the
decision, but this is not expected to influence the relations between the two.
The coalition will not fall because of this."
Opposition within Labor
What brought about the dramatic turn in the defense minister's stance is
apparently Peretz's concern that Olmert's decision to create two committees
would concentrate the probe's attention on him, as head of the military
echelon. Another major reason for the change of heart is Peretz's desire to
toe the party line.
In recent days, Peretz stressed that he is ready to face any investigating
commission, and also pointed an accusing finger at his predecessors, hinting
to Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's responsibility for the IDF's
shortcomings during wartime.
Contrary to the chairman, Labor Ministers Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Isaac Herzog
and Shalom Simhon, are still firm in their objection to a state commission of
inquiry. The three said that even if the faction decides to support the
establishment of such a commission during Friday's faction meeting, they were
not obliged to vote against the PM's proposal in the cabinet.
First Published: 08.31.06, 21:49