Ashkenazi on Galant affair: Great damage done to IDF

Police: Document is a forgery; IDF chief, Barak, and other top army officials cleared of any involvement; defense minister says appointment process to resume in coming days.

By DAN IZENBERG
August 19, 2010 20:45
2 minute read.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi speaks publicly for the first time on Wednesday.

Ashkenazi 311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi lauded the police announcement Thursday that no top IDF officer was involved in forging the “Galant document," but admitted that the affair hurt the IDF and Israel.

“It is now clear that great damage has been caused to the IDF and that the accusations against the military were baseless,” Ashkenazi said. “I never believed that anyone in the IDF was involved in this affair.”

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Defense minister Ehud Barak also praised the announcement and said that the appointment process for the next IDF chief of staff will resume in the following days. The defense minister "had no doubt from the beginning that the document was forged and intended to harm the appoint of the next IDF chief of staff."

Barak also added that he would continue cooperating with Ashkenazi on a professional level until he finishes his term in office.

Israel Police announced earlier that the “Galant document” is a forgery and added that the complaint filed by the Arad Communications office, which claimed the document was made to appear as if it originated from the company, is well founded.

This statement clears Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and other staff officers in any involvement in the preparation of the document.

Police investigators have found that none of the contenders for the post of chief-of-staff were involved in the writing of the allegedly forged document, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Barak.

As a result of this finding, Weinstein told the two there was no legal reason preventing them from selecting one of the contenders for the role.

"In view of the vital public interest in choosing the next chief-of-staff quickly, as you explained to me, and given the interim police findings that were presented to me today, according to which there is no evidence of the involvement of any of the relevant generals in the preparation of the document, it can no longer be said there are legal grounds for not choosing a new chief of staff," Weinstein wrote to Netanyahu and Barak.

On August 8, the day Weinstein ordered police to investigate the document in response to a complaint lodged by media adviser Eyal Arad, he also told the prime minister and defense minister that they could not appoint a new chief-of-staff while the police were trying to find out who was behind it.

The attorney-general explained that, "I reached this decision after studying the facts and determining the proper balance between the goal of conducting a thorough investigation and the vital public interest in preventing a delay in the appointment of a new chief-of-staff, and after it emerged that there was no basis for suspecting any of the generals relevant to the appointment procedure."

JPOST.COM STAFF contributed to this report.


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