Kadima MK calls for Cast Lead probe

Kadima MK calls for Cast

After nearly an entire week during which coalition and opposition MKs unified against the Goldstone Commission Report, cracks began to show on Sunday as lawmakers began sparring over how best to react. MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) accused the government of backing Israel into a "dead end" and called on the Netanyahu administration to establish a judicial investigative committee into Operation Cast Lead. "The stronger the diplomatic offensive against Israel becomes," the more necessary it is for "the government of Israel to make a brave decision," the Kadima legislator and former IDF spokesman said in a statement. "The time has come to put an end to the government's misgivings concerning the Goldstone Report and to conduct a judicial inquiry into Operation Cast Lead," he added. "As time goes by it is becoming clearer that this is the only way to save Israel from the dead end into which the government has forced us, and that disrupts Israel's foreign affairs." Shai said that such an investigation would "bring all those who violated IDF protocol to justice" and emphasized that the chairperson of such an inquest "will thwart the public maneuver against us and return Israel to its previous [glory]." From within the coalition Government Services Minister Michael Eitan (Likud) leveled veiled criticism at the prime minister, saying public diplomacy starts with deeds. "It's impossible to explain when you do nothing. The right actions must be performed in order to achieve diplomatic goals," he said. "But on the other hand, we must remember that public relations, good as they may be, come only after we can ensure the security of Israeli citizens and the country's existence." But the political slams worked both ways. Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) directed her criticism against opposition leader and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni. Livni, who was foreign minister at the time of the Gaza offensive last winter, is one of the senior politicians most likely to find themselves in the focus of any judicial inquiry that could emerge from the report. "I certainly expect that just like [Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu joined the public diplomacy effort around the world during Operation Cast Lead [as opposition leader], Livni will also phone world leaders and stand up for the State of Israel. There is no coalition and opposition here," Livnat said. "Unfortunately, though, she hasn't done this." Yet even within the political back-and-forth, there will still be those who maintain the consensus line that has dominated the Israeli discourse surrounding the UN report. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), a longtime member of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Army Radio on Sunday, "There is an anti-Semitic attempt here to determine that what the US can do in Afghanistan, Russia can do in Chechnya and Turkey can do in northern Iraq, is forbidden to Israel in defending itself in the Gaza Strip. We will not give such allegations a leg up - Jews will not go again like sheep to the slaughter." "The Jewish state has a right and an obligation to defend itself and its citizens, no less than does the US, Russia or Turkey," he said. Steinitz also threatened that if the Palestinian Authority continued to take advantage of every possible international forum to attack Israel, Israel would no longer "be able to continue to offer the other cheek."