Gal-On: Knesset should be required to approve war

Legislation seeks Knesset oversight on decisions of war to prevent "hasty decision-making" ahead of potential Iran strike.

August 5, 2012 20:44
1 minute read.
Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On

Zehava Gal-On 311. (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

Ahead of a possible Israeli military strike on Iran, the law should be changed to require Knesset approval to go to war, Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said on Sunday.

Currently a decision to go to war must only be approved by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s 15- member diplomatic-security cabinet.

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Gal-On’s legislation would require a prime minister to also obtain approval from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee for Intelligence and Secret Services, which already oversees the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Mossad and the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.

“The law must require Knesset oversight over the government on decisions to go to war,” Gal-On said. “Israel is the only country in the world that has no oversight over its military operations. The fate of the State of Israel is in the hands of people guided by considerations of political survival.”

Gal-On noted recent reports that Netanyahu was not convening either the diplomatic-security cabinet or the eight-member inner security cabinet to discuss how to handle the Iranian nuclear threat.

She also expressed concerns over former vice premier Shaul Mofaz claim that Netanyahu had considered appointing Tzachi Hanegbi as a minister to tip the scales in the inner-security cabinet in favor of a strike on Iran.

“My proposal would defend Israel from a hasty decision by the government to go to war,” Gal-On said. “A representative of the opposition in the Knesset should be involved in the decision-making.”

Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) called Gal-On’s proposal ridiculous. He said the government was elected to make key decisions, and getting Knesset approval for a decision already made by the diplomatic-security cabinet would be dangerous and redundant.

The bill is not expected to have any chance of passing.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will meet with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday. While the meeting was called to discuss efforts to draft yeshiva students, it is likely that the Iranian issue will dominate questions the MKs ask Barak.

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