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Israel's Olmert Rejects Independent Investigation Into War

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday said he will appoint two government commissions to examine Israel's conduct in the recent conflict in Lebanon, but he rejected calls for an independent investigation.

Ehud Olmert faced down his critics, saying there will be no official state inquiry into the conduct of the war, but he will appoint an investigative committee that will examine the decision-making process during the recent conflict in Lebanon.

Speaking in Israel's third largest city, Haifa, which was repeatedly struck by Hezbollah rocket fire during the conflict, Mr. Olmert said separate commissions will examine how the military conducted the war, and how political decisions affected the home front.

Mr. Olmert says the government does not have the luxury of spending long periods of time investigating the past.

The Israeli prime minister has been under pressure to set up an official state inquiry into the conduct of the war, similar to inquiries that examined failures by Israeli commanders during wars in 1973 and 1982.

Several hundred reservists who served in Lebanon say they were sent into battle without proper equipment or guidance from their commanders about what their mission was.

In his remarks Monday night, Mr. Olmert said the decision to go to war was his, and his alone. He rejected criticism of how the war was conducted. However, although he acknowledged the way the war was conducted has generated controversy, he said Israel's military largely achieved its objective of pushing Hezbollah back from the Israeli border.