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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Olmert orders limited war probes
By Nick Thorpe
BBC News, Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers return from fighting Hezbollah in southern Lebanon
Many Israelis do not feel the campaign achieved its objectives
The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has announced the establishment of two governmental committees into the recent conflict in Lebanon.

One will examine the military and the other the political conduct of the war.

The committees fall short of demands for an independent state commission of inquiry and the decision is expected to draw criticism from his opponents.

Mr Olmert chose a meeting with mayors from northern Israel in the port city of Haifa to make the announcement.

Israelis have been awaiting his decision on the shape an inquiry into the war will take for two weeks.

Public clamour

In a wide-ranging policy speech, Mr Olmert defended his decision to go to war and praised the conduct of soldiers, civilians and elected representatives.

Israeli reservists hold signs demanding an investigation
Israeli reservists have protested over the handling of the conflict

But he also admitted that mistakes had been made which needed to be addressed and urgently fixed.

Addressing a growing clamour of public protest in the past weeks, he said he had thought long and hard about a state commission of inquiry but had reached the conclusion that this was not what Israel needs.

Instead, he said, he intended to appoint the two committees to look into the military and political conduct of the war.

Fight for survival

Under the relevant law on such committees, they will not have the power to recommend that top officials or generals step down.

With this decision Mr Olmert appears to be making a gamble that his government can survive the relatively mild criticism that his own appointees are likely to make and that, in the meantime, the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Lebanon will improve his own government's standing at home.

The Israeli prime minister is fighting for his own political survival.


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