Israel's Comptroller to Blame Top Ministers, Netanyahu for Carmel Fire Failures

Observers who monitored the State Comptroller's report on the 2010 disaster say final draft lays 'special' responsibility with interior, finance ministers, 'general' responsibility with Netanyahu, public security minister.

The State Comptroller’s report on the December 2010 Carmel fire will place “special” responsibility with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Interior Minister Eli Yishai for failures that led to the disaster, and “general” responsibility with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, observers said on Thursday.

The final draft of the report was presented to government ministers and officials on Thursday. Recipients will be given three weeks to comment on the report. 

Netanyahu supertanker - Milner - Feb 2012
Moshe Milner

The observers, who monitored the work of the State Comptroller in putting together the report, say the State Comptroller will lay special responsibility with Yishai and Steinitz over “serious omissions that led to a low level of preparedness on the part of fire and rescue services, which were manifested in the outbreak of the fire” on December 2, 2010.

Some 44 police cadets and firefighters died in the disaster.

According to the observers, the State Comptroller places “general responsibility” with Netanyahu, as under his watch, petitions on the part of the finance and interior ministers over the state of fire and rescue services were not dealt with.

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The observers claim that the State Comptroller’s report places “general responsibility”  with Aharanovitch, as bodies under his authority - the police and prison services - were found rife with failures and omissions which led to the outbreak of the fire.

The report also addresses the part played by Dudi Cohen, the former police commissioner, former Prison Service Commander Benny Kaniak, then Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Shimon Romach, as well as district commissioners of these authorities.

In some cases, the final draft softens the criticism of those involved, compared with that included in previous drafts, the observers say.

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