The Twelfth-Fourteenth Session of the Tenth Knesset Wednesday, June 14, 1983 – The establishment of a committee of inquiry into the activities of the opposition circles during Operation Peace for the Galilee
Mr. Chairman, Members of Knesset, I am sure that all the members of the House join the healing blessings that were sent from this stand - and I would like to remind them again - of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, my dear friend Simcha Erlich. We all hope that he will recover quickly and return to his work in the government, as he has done so far after his recovery from another disease.
Mr. Speaker, The Cabinet decided on Operation Peace for the Galilee. She had only one purpose - to ensure that the residents of the Galilee would no longer run to shelters, so that they would not fall into fear of death, neither day nor night, as it had been for many years.
I wonder about Knesset members whom I have known for many years, and with whom we have sometimes acted out of differences of opinion, sometimes out of national unity demonstrated by us in other years, that they forget, at least forget, this goal.
It was an act of self-righteous national defense. I believe that we faced the danger of the destruction of Kiryat Shmona, heaven forbid, or the annihilation of Nahariya, God forbid. This danger was real.
Meir Vilner (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality):
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Prime Minister M. Begin:
This danger was real because they were bombarded with cannons, with far-reaching weapons, day and night and at every opportunity. The residents of the Galilee were in fact hostage to the enemy.
Why today, as on another occasion, is an attempt made to forget the fact that proves the truth in our announcement and decision when we removed all the settlements in the Galilee, including Kiryat Shmona, from the firing range of the enemy? In other words, on June 11 last year we announced a cease-fire. We were prepared to stop all fighting, as I said, as the government decided explicitly, and announced publicly. You have all read this message. How could it be possible to add the vile term, taken from a dictionary that should be despised for every Jew, to a "new order" in double quotation marks?
We did not want any "new order." We wanted to protect our population. The army, with great resourcefulness, courageously and sacrifice, carried out this mission. True, in the most justified military campaign there are also difficulties, there are also failures.
If I wanted to enter into a debate about the past, when we are talking about people who are no longer with us, I would not remind the members who sit here and sit with me during the three-year period of the Six-Day War. Then, in the Yom Kippur War, we were the first to suggest stopping all election propaganda so that the people could stand together and ignore all differences of opinion until the war was over.
So, when there were such days, there were no mishaps. Nor were decisions made in hindsight, and it is enough for the wise in Ramiza. I do not want to go into details, because this polemic will hurt us all. I do not want to cause any pain.
I want to tell members of the opposition. Why are you always trying to create the impression that from Israel, at some stage, there was aggression in Lebanon? The whole campaign was conducted in national self-defense, from its inception to the present day, but there are difficulties. Is this the first war in which difficulties were discovered? We have to stand together, as I have already said.
What will the commission of inquiry give? Incidentally, its establishment is within the authority of the government. If you want to act publicly - you have all the parliamentary instruments. Submit motions for the agenda, submit a no-confidence motion.
It is fixed in the law that the government decides to establish a commission of inquiry, not the Knesset. After all, the decisions are political, how can they be handed over to a commission of inquiry? The Agranat Commission also determined that political matters already belonged to the democratic public institutions and not to the commission of inquiry, and therefore it ceased as it had stopped.
We fulfilled the conclusions of the committee that investigated them all. It was not simple. Another committee of inquiry - what will the state deal with, and what will the entire public deal with? Why break his morale, why give a mouth to our enemies, who follow this discussion?
Mr. Speaker, I turn to MK Akiva Nof, who will make do with his remarks and will not demand any discussion in the plenum or the committee.
I wish to remove from the agenda of the Knesset the two proposals put forward by MK Mordechai Virshovski and by MK Shimon Peres