The coalition of reservists and bereaved families, who have been pushing for a state commission of inquiry into the shortcomings of the war in Lebanon, on Sunday evening called on Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to investigate the appointment of the Winograd Governmental Committee's public relations official, Moti Seraf.
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In a letter to Mazuz, the members of the coalition complained that "it is unreasonable that a public committee is privately hiring a public relations person," Army Radio reported.
Correcting flaws (October 8 editorial)
It was yet another hurdle to add to the lengthening list of difficulties the committee has been forced to endure since it was authorized by the government last month.
On October 5, the Prime Minister's Office made an assurance that the committee would continue in spite of the ultimatum set the previous day by the High Court for the justification of such a committee.
"The government has made the decision to establish the committee according to law and there is no way in the world to rule that this process is illegal," said a PMO official.
The High Court of Justice had issued a show-cause order and gave the state six days to explain why it had appointed the government committee instead of a state commission of inquiry headed by a Supreme Court justice.
A panel of three judges headed by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch ordered the state to explain what was the scope of the government committee's powers to investigate a matter of "general national significance" and whether it was proper for the government to appoint a committee which would have to investigate those who appointed it.
The petition was submitted by watchdog organizations Ometz and the Movement for Quality Government. Ometz lawyer, Michael Corinaldi, told The Jerusalem Post that the court's decision would bring an end to the activities of the Winograd Committee until the court handed down a final ruling. "A government governed by law is not afraid of a state commission of inquiry," he added.
On the same day, Attorney General Menahem Mazuz ordered the dismissal of the secretary of the Winograd Committee due to his previous role as an activist in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima Party.
The decision by Israel's top law enforcement official to disqualify Menahem Ben-Haim followed mounting public criticism of the war probe and what was seen as an inappropriate political appointment.