Admoni quits war inquiry committee

Report: Barak told PM he was prepared to head a state commission of inquiry.

Nahum Admoni, who was initially appointed to head the committee of investigation into the government's management of the war in Lebanon, decided Thursday night to leave the committee altogether. Since the committee was meant to investigate the defense establishment's role in the war, Admoni and former justice Eliahu Winograd - Admoni's replacement as head of the committee - nominated Maj.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Haim Nadel to be the latest member. The Winograd commission is set to receive government approval on Sunday. The Prime Minister's Office reported that Attorney General Menahem Mazuz had approved Winograd as head of the commission, as well as the other four members of the committee: Prof. Ruth Gavison, Prof. Yehezkel Dror, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Menahem Einan, and Nadel. Meanwhile, Channel Two television reported Thursday that retired Supreme Court President Aharon Barak told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert he was prepared to head a state commission of inquiry into Israel's handling of the war. According to the report, Barak and Olmert held a private meeting on Wednesday. However, sources close to Olmert vehemently denied the report. "The issue was not raised even in a hint," Olmert's spokesman, Assaf Shariv told The Jerusalem Post. "We have already formed a committee," said Shariv, adding that although Olmert would be appreciative of such an offer, he would turn it down. Another Olmert spokesperson, Miri Eisen, said the report went against everything she knew about the government's intentions. Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister's Office announced that the cabinet would approve the establishment of the Winograd Government Investigation Committee on Sunday. According to the announcement, in addition to Judge Dr. Eliyahu Winograd, who will chair the committee, the members will be Prof. Ruth Gavison, Prof. Yehezkel Dror, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Menachem Einan and Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Haim Nadel. Meanwhile, Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said that Barak was the right man to head a state commission of inquiry into the shortcomings of the war. Netanyahu endorsed the formation of such a commission at a New Year's toast hosted by MK Gideon Saar at Kfar Hamaccabiah in Ramat Gan.