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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Israel launches Lebanon inquiry
An Israeli tank leaving Lebanon
Israel's politicians have been criticised over the conduct of the conflict
Israel has set up a commission to investigate how the military campaign in Lebanon was conducted.

The move was announced by the Defence Minister, Amir Peretz.

The commission, to be headed by retired Israeli army chief Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, has been asked to produce an interim report within three weeks.

Opposition politicians have called for an independent commission, not one appointed by Mr Peretz, into the army's handling of the conflict.

The announcement follows days of strong criticism in Israel of Mr Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about the way the conflict was pursued, and demands for an official inquiry.

The chorus of disapproval has come from opposition politicians, the media and the public.

'Aims not met'

Several newspapers have published opinion polls suggesting that two-thirds of the Israeli public want a commission set up to examine why the Israeli military failed to defeat Hezbollah's guerrilla fighters.

More than half those questioned thought that Mr Peretz should have resigned and that the military campaign should have continued.

Throughout the military campaign against Lebanon that the twin aims of the war were the return of the captured Israeli soldiers, and the removal of Hezbollah's influence from southern Lebanon.

Critics of Mr Olmert and Mr Peretz have said that neither of these aims has been achieved.

Silvan Shalom, a senior member of the opposition Likud party and a former foreign minister, told the BBC that he believed the inquiry would be a waste of time.

"I think that this inquiry committee is an internal one and it can't investigate or ask questions of the minister of defence himself because he appointed them," he said.

"It should be an external inquiry commission that would investigate the performance and the preparations of the Israeli Defence Force for the war in Lebanon."


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