Quality Gov't Group Seeks New Hearing on State War Probe

High Court rules against appointing state commission of inquiry to investigate war in Lebanon.

The government-appointed Winograd committee investigating the handling of the Lebanon war will not be replaced by a state commission of inquiry, the High Court of Justice ruled Thursday.

The High Court rejected a petition submitted by the Movement for Quality Government in a 4-3 ruling. The organization said Friday it would request an additional hearing on the matter, Israel Radio reported.

The judgment is considered a green light for the Winograd committee to proceed in its investigation, signaling that all legal obstacles have been removed.

Nonetheless, the justices criticized the government's decision to appoint the Winograd committee.

"The High Court's refraining from intervening in [the committee appointment] does not indicate its contentment with the way in which the government made the decision, nor does it give its seal of public approval for appointing the committee," the justices wrote.

Justices Eliezer Rivlin, Asher Grunis, Salim Joubran and Esther Hayut voted to reject the petition, just outnumbering the three justices in the minority: Ayala Procaccia, Miriam Naor and Elyakim Rubenstein. All three justices who voted in favor of the petition were members of the original panel that first heard the petition two months ago.

Procaccia lashed out at the government's decision, writing that "my conclusion is that there was a flaw in how the inquiry committee was appointed to investigate events in Lebanon."