Israeli newspapers are largely unconvinced by the committees set up by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to investigate the conflict in Lebanon. Commentators in several papers suggest that Mr Olmert has chosen an option that may give him an easier ride.
Alex Fishman in YEDIOT AHARONOT
This is going to be the mother of all whitewashes.
Ze'ev Segal in HA'ARETZ
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has pulled out of his hat committees without any real foundation, lacking in public trust, just like hot-air balloons. Even were these to do their job properly, they would not win the confidence of the public, no matter what their findings might be... Olmert did not gain anything from setting up the committees. He did not even buy himself a time-out.
Nahum Barnea in YEDIOT AHARONOT
The committee whose establishment Olmert declared yesterday is the lesser evil... Yet this committee is preferable to a state legal commission of inquiry... If the conclusion from the hard mistakes committed during the war is the need to depose the prime minister and the defence minister, the right address is the Knesset or the ballot box or the party institutions they lean on. There are no short cuts in this matter.
Yossi Verter in HA'ARETZ
Ehud Olmert went out of his way yesterday to convince his audience that a state commission headed by a Supreme Court judge is the most "appealing solution" for him but, because of considerations of state, against his own interest, he chose a public committee... If after Olmert's decision the protest grows, he will pay a heavy price. If it fades away into the approaching festivals, Olmert got off very lightly.
Nadav Eyal in MA'ARIV
There was an amusing section in Olmert's speech yesterday when he explained why a state legal commission of inquiry was the easiest political solution for him. Olmert said that the idea of the state legal commission of inquiry was "politically tempting". This, with all due respect, is a little exaggeration. To try to convince the audience that a government committee will be good for the state is one thing. To try to sell to the public that the prime minister was "tempted" by a state legal commission of inquiry headed by High Court President Aharon Barak is a totally different thing.
Editorial in JERUSALEM POST
Last night in Haifa, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made his case both for the successes of the war, his own decision-making, and for a three-part mechanism to investigate and correct mistakes. He argued that we as a nation do not have the "luxury" of launching a drawn-out commission of inquiry that will force generals and ministers to defend themselves from legal sanction. We also, however, do not have the luxury of an investigation that does not cast its net deep and wide, and call into question entrenched ideas and deficiencies in our military, politics, and society.
Hagay Huberman in HATZOFE
The prime minister resorted yesterday to all the classic, demagogic exercises in his speech. He extracted lengthy rounds of applause when he declared: "I am responsible"... for the outcome of the war. But, as usual with Israeli leaders, this is always shouldering responsibility without drawing personal conclusions. Olmert is responsible, but of course it will not occur to him to resign.
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