Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the last in a long series of government and military officials to appear before the Winograd Commission investigating the summer's Lebanon War, concluded on Thursday afternoon some seven hours of testimony. Even though the verdict in Haim Ramon's trial is likely to have a huge impact on his government, Olmert spent most of Wednesday not dealing with a cabinet reshuffle, but rather with his appearance before the commission. Olmert huddled Wednesday with his lawyer Eli Zohar and his chief of staff Yoram Turbowicz, reviewing the events of the summer and preparing his testimony.
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It is widely expected that Olmert will refrain from pointing fingers and casting blame during his testimony, which is expected to last only one day.
Instead, Olmert is expected to map out the decision-making process that led to the cabinet vote on July 12 to go to war, as well as to explain to the commission how he made his decisions during the war, and upon what information they were based.
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen Dan Halutz testified before the commission for some seven hours on Sunday, and Defense Minister Amir Peretz answered the commission's questions for some five hours last Wednesday.
Halutz was quizzed about his relationship with both Olmert and Peretz during the war, and told the Commission that all of his decisions were coordinated with the political echelon. He admitted to making a mistake by not calling up reservists from the outset of the fighting against Hizbullah.
The commission - led by Judge Eliyahu Winograd - is scheduled to present an interim report by the end of February. Olmert chose Winograd to head the commission in September.