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Probe of War Demanded

Opposition factions in the Knesset are demanding an official investigation into the government’s conduct of the war in Lebanon. The Labor Alignment submitted an agenda motion today calling for a State commission to inquire into “the functioning of the Cabinet during the war in Lebanon.” A similar motion was presented by Shinui.

Moshe Shahal, chairman of the Alignment’s Knesset faction, said an inquiry was necessary because of “serious conflicting statements” made by various Cabinet ministers during the war. Amnon Rubinstein of Shinui, said there was prima facie evidence that the government violated the “basic law” which subordinates the army to civilian authority.

According to Rubinstein, former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and former Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan ran the war according to plans that had been rejected by the government. The charges by opposition spokesmen were echoed by some members of Premier Menachem Begin’s coalition.

Deputy Premier Simcha Ehrlich said on a television interview that Begin had told him of many occasions when military action was approved by the Cabinet after the fact. Likud MK Yitzhak Berman who was Energy Minister in Begin’s Cabinet during the war, supported the idea of a State inquiry. His Likud colleague, Akiva Noff, however, demanded an inquiry into the conduct of the opposition.