JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spent hours Thursday testifying before the commission investigating Israel’s conduct during its much-criticized war in Lebanon over the summer. The Winograd commission was appointed in the fall to try to reconstruct the government’s decisions during the war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas and to determine if anyone should be censured.

The government has been criticized for failing to meet its two main objectives

The Israeli daily Haaretz said Olmert was expected to be asked about his decision to go to war after Hezbollah militants captured the two Israeli soldiers in a July 12 cross-border raid, as well as his war aims and his conduct of the fighting. Haaretz said he was expected to defend his conduct and to assert that Israel emerged victorious from the war, an impression that many Israelis disagree with.

The war killed between 1,035 and 1,191 Lebanese civilians and combatants, according to tallies by government agencies, humanitarian groups and The Associated Press.

A total of 120 Israeli soldiers were killed in fighting, and 39 civilians were killed by Hezbollah rockets fired into northern Israel during the conflict. The fighting ended in an Aug. 14 cease-fire brokered by the UN.

The commission is expected to issue an interim report in mid-March.