State commissions of inquiry and government inspection committees are set up to examine, investigate, get to the bottom of the truth, and then present it in full to the public. However, the situation in Israel today is such that the public is not exposed to these bodies’ full discussions and proceedings. At best, they get to learn the “bottom line” contained in their final reports. Many human rights are thus violated, including the right to access government information, the people’s right to know, and the publicity of proceedings.
This policy paper seeks to ensure that the Israeli public can form its own impressions, as transparently and as directly as possible, about the debate and the process that leads to the decisions of commissions of inquiry and inspection committees. We seek to ensure that hearings are held openly and that the minutes of the deliberations are publicized before the release of the final report to enable the public to learn what transpired inside these panels, as well as to safeguard the publicity of the proceedings, the right to access government information, and the people’s right to know.
To that end, we seek to pass two amendments that will protect these rights continually and obviate the need for legal proceedings and repeated petitions by associations, organizations, or individuals:
● Commissions of inquiry Law-1968 shall henceforth stipulate that commissions will be required to publish regular updates of the proceedings’ minutes until the final report’s release unless there is relevant security, political, economic, or personal justification for not doing so.
● Subsection (f) shall be added to Article 8A of The Government Law-2001, stating that publicity of the proceedings of inspection committees and publication of their findings, including the minutes, shall be by Commissions of inquiry Law-1968, making publicity of proceedings and publication of minutes the rule, and keeping them confidential the exception.