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The task force appointed to censor sensitive material in the testimonies of Winograd Committee witnesses began this week to read over the testimonies of the prime minister, defense minister and former chief of staff in an attempt to publish them before the committee releases its interim report, the state informed the High Court of Justice on Tuesday.
The statement came two days before a High Court hearing on a petition filed by MK Zehava Gal-On. In the petition, Gal-On demanded that the committee release the protocols of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former Chief-of-Staff Dan Halutz before it publishes the interim report so that the public will have a basis for judging the committee's findings.
In an earlier petition, Gal-On demanded that the committee publish the protocols of the testimonies of all the witnesses, as the committee had not clarified if it intended to do so. As a result of the petition, the state agreed to publish, but said it first had to select a task force to read over all the protocols and censor sensitive national security information.
In its response to Gal-On's second petition, the state's representative, attorney Osnat Mandel, head of the High Court Petitions Section of the Justice Ministry, said the security checks of all the members of the task force had recently been concluded and they are now at work, beginning with the protocols of the three senior figures singled out by Gal-On.
Mandel added that the petitioner had no right to demand an order of priorities for publishing the testimonies.
However, she continued, "as long as this will not interfere with the work of the Winograd Committee, the committee feels it is possible to prepare these protocols first. Accordingly, at the beginning of the week, the examiners began reading the testimonies of the prime minister, defense minister and former chief of staff."
Mandel added that some of the transcripts are already ready for publication and will appear on the committee's Web site, which is in its final stages of preparation.
The hearing on Gal-On's petition will take place on Thursday morning before Deputy Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Rivlin, Ayala Procaccia and Salim Joubran.