Following pressure from all sides of Israel’s political spectrum, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared in Israel’s northern city of Haifa, which had been hit by 400 of the more than 4000 missiles fired at Israel’s northern cities during thirty three days of bombing from the Hizbullah, and announced the formation of three fact finding blue ribbon panels to determine the causes of Israel’s military and civilian lack of preparedness for the war with Hizbullah,. These three committees will be assigned to determine why and how Israel’s defense establishment ignored the clear warnings issued by Israeli deputy minister of defense Ephraim Sneh, back in 2001, that the Hizbullah had placed 12,000 missiles in attack formation in Southern Lebanon, following Israel’s sudden withdrawal from the Jewish state’s self proclaimed “security zone” in Southern Lebanon in May 2000
These three blue ribbon panels are only empowered to make recommendations to the prime minister, and will not carry the force of law that a formal commission of inquiry which would could obligate sweeping changes and dismissals in the Israeli government and Israeli military, as the Agranat Commission of Inquiry did after the Yom Kippur War, which forced the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and the dismissal of Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan.
Olmert has come under attack from all parts of the Israeli political spectrum, including prominent members of Olmert’s own coalition in Israel’s Knesset Parliament. The former head of the Israel’s Mossad, coalition Knesset member Danny Yatom attacked Olmert’s formation of blue ribbon panels, saying that “only a commission of inquiry will see the whole picture”, while left wing Member of Knesset and former Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beillin declared that Olmert would go down as Israel’s ” Stuttering Prime Minister”. Meanwhile, the non-parliamentary groups that have been demonstrating outside of the Prime Minister’s office – bereaved parents of soldiers killed last month in Lebanon, reservists who feel they were betrayed by the cease fire, and government reformists who claim that Olmert has violated all norms of proper government – announced that they would now organize a hunger strike that would last until Olmert forms an official commission of investigation that would look into the mishandling of the war in Lebanon, with legal authority to demand removal of public officials from office and possible prosecution of those officials deemed responsible for criminal negligence.