Netanyahu calls for state inquiry

Opposition chairman Binyamin Netanyahu called for the formation of a state commission of inquiry on Tuesday to investigate the mistakes of the war in Lebanon. Netanyahu made a point of acting statesmanlike during the war and even served as a frequent spokesman for Israel in the foreign press. But he changed his direction Tuesday by criticizing the way the war was handled. "We have to learn lessons from the war," Netanyahu said in an interview with Channel 2. "With this many inadequacies, there is no choice but to form a state commission of inquiry. If we don't learn lessons, there will be another round [of war] that will not end well for Israel." Likud MKs had criticized Netanyahu on Monday for remaining silent on the state inquiry commission issue. They charged that his silence came because he felt that acting statesmanlike would improve his image and that such a commission could implicate Netanyahu for cutting the defense budget as finance minister. Netanyahu appeased his critics in Likud by calling for the inquiry commission without overtly criticizing the government. He repeatedly refused to answer questions about Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the interview. Asked whether Likud could join a national-unity government, Netanyahu said that "there is nothing to unite about" because the government's policies without a West Bank withdrawal on the agenda were unclear. "I don't know what the government's positions are," Netanyahu said. "What I do know is that this government will not last out its days."