MKs: PM, FM purposely neglect FADC

15 members of committee send letter to chairman Hanegbi demanding gov't debriefing on peace talks.

Steinitz got milk 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Steinitz got milk 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The prime minister and foreign minister are purposely neglecting to update and brief the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on state matters, 15 members of the committee claimed in a scathing complaint which was submitted to FADC Chairman Tzahi Hanegbi (Kadima) on Sunday. "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are ignoring the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and are not reporting their diplomatic contacts with the Palestinians and with Syria," the letter stated. The letter was authored by MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud), and was signed by a number of MKs among the opposition, including Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, Israeli Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, and former foreign minister Silvan Shalom (Likud). Coalition members such as MK Colette Avital (Labor) and MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) were also among the signatories. In the letter, the MKs demanded that the FADC ask Livni and Olmert to debrief the Knesset on their activities. "We are appealing to you out of concern for the standing of the Knesset as a body that supervises the actions of the government, and out of a feeling that the prime minister, unlike his predecessor, is dictating a policy of ignoring the committee with regards to state matters," the letter read. The MKs also complained that the diplomatic process suffered from a lack of parliamentary oversight. "For months, negotiations have been conducted with the Palestinians regarding the existence and the future of Israel, without any parliamentary supervision," the letter read. "We are of the opinion that the events in Lebanon and the threat of an Islamic republic being established right on our border demands that the political echelon be summoned to speak before the committee, together with relevant intelligence officials," the letter stated. In response, Hanegbi defended the actions of the prime minister and the foreign minister, saying that in order to advance negotiations, secrecy was crucial. "Even Rabin didn't bring the Oslo Accords before the committee for discussion, because the Camp David agreement wasn't brought to the committee," the FADC chairman said. "And Sharon never presented his disengagement plan. The moment one presents details of secret negotiations before the committee, and in effect the public, you can shut up shop, because there won't be any more negotiations."