Politicians Slam Olmert Ahead of Comptroller's Report

The dispute surrounding the publication of the state comptroller's report tomorrow has drawn stormy reactions among political leaders. Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign due to his verbal assault on State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. Pines-Paz called on Lindenstrauss and the Knesset State Control Committee not to give in to the pressure by Olmert and his aides.

State Control Committee Chairman Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party), who yesterday rejected requests to postpone the committee's hearing on the matter, said "I understand the need of Kadima members to protect the prime minister, but I expect MKs to show national responsibility and protect first and foremost the well-being and security of the state's residents."

Meretz MK Ran Cohen, who chaired the committee in the past, said Olmert is gnawing away at the status of the state comptroller and appears to have something to hide. "It is not only the state comptroller's right and responsibility to publish an interim report, it is his obligation to probe the failures of the war," he said.

Likud faction whip Gideon Sa'ar said "Olmert is destroying every good plot in order to escape responsibility for the failures of the second Lebanon war."

Military officials have also reacted harshly to the intent to publish the report tomorrow. GOC Home Front Command Gershon Yitzhak demanded that the hearing be postponed, writing the Knesset legal adviser that he "intends to file a petition with the High Court of Justice as soon as possible regarding the publication of the state comptroller's report on the Home Front Command's performance during the fighting ... without allowing any opportunity to respond to the findings."

The letter was also signed by a senior officer in the Military Advocate General's Office, Colonel Orna David.

According to the IDF, the letter was sent on behalf of officers who could be harmed by the report prior to being given an opportunity to respond.

Meanwhile, Ometz chairman Aryeh Avneri filed a complaint against Olmert with the Knesset Ethics Committee for refusing to testify before the state comptroller. Avneri said Olmert is shaming the Knesset by refusing to cooperate despite the fact that MKs are legally obligated to fulfill their duties faithfully and respect the Knesset and its committees.