Knesset okays official Amona probe

Olmert hints he may veto parliamentary investigation in next Knesset.

amona climbing 298 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
amona climbing 298 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
In a blow to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Knesset approved Wednesday a parliamentary investigative committee into the evacuation of the Amona outpost three weeks ago. The investigation will form as a subcommittee to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and will have a mandate to function until the 17th Knesset resumes in April. "This vote was a victory against Kadima's leftist coalition with Meretz, Labor and the Arab parties," said a Likud Party spokesman. "It is an important achievement that the Knesset is doing what the government should have done." The formation of the committee was approved by a vote of 31 to 20, with Likud and right-wing parties voting in support while Kadima and left-wing parties voted against the committee. "Bibi [Binyamin Netanyahu] is dancing on the blood of the soldiers and policemen who were harmed in Amona," said a Kadima spokesman. "A coalition headed by Kadima will cancel this horrible decision." Wednesday morning, Olmert told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that if he were elected prime minister in the upcoming elections, he would veto the committee in the next Knesset. Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said that the decision "reflects the questions that remain regarding the implementation of the evacuation. The Knesset committee is proud to carry out the mandate given it by the speaker of the Knesset." Representatives of the Labor and Meretz parties commented that the formation of the investigative committee was a blow to Israel's security forces and not a blow for justice. Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer, whose organization petitioned for the evacuation of Amona, has already filed a request to Steinitz to appear before the committee. Oppenheimer hoped to present material supporting the illegal status of Amona, and the intent of the settlers to resist evacuation.