(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
The police investigation into the “Galant document” affair has reached the
office of IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who was recently
questioned over the matter.
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Ashkenazi told police that he had been in
possession of a copy of the document before Channel 2 first brought it to the
public’s attention during a broadcast on August 6. He handed the document over
to the investigators after the Channel 2 broadcast.
Late Tuesday night,
Ashkenazi released a statement slamming what he said were inaccurate press
reports, denying a report that he had transferred the document to Military
Advocate-General Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit so he could analyze it and decide
whether there were criminal ramifications.
“In accordance with a request
by the police inspector- general and the investigation team, we are not passing
on information on the investigation to IDF commanders or the public. This,
despite the fact that the media is, unfortunately, publishing half-truths and
inaccurate information,” Ashkenazi said in a statement made available by the IDF
The chief of staff added that at the end of the
investigation, he “would have something to say” about the affair.
letter from Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to Mandelblit, made available to
the media on Tuesday evening before Ashkenazi issued the statement, said
Mandelblit had not received the document before it was aired on Channel 2,
contradicting reports that appeared earlier in the day.
document purports to show that Arad Communications, a public relations firm,
drew up plans to damage the reputations of senior IDF officers in a bid to
promote OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant’s candidacy to succeed
Ashkenazi as chief of General Staff.
Police are seeking to ascertain
whether the document was forged, and whether army or public officials misused
their offices to create it or leak it.
News that Ashkenazi was in
possession of the document for several weeks before Channel 2’s report rocked
the IDF on Tuesday, and was called “earth-shattering” by several senior officers
and defense officials.
Some IDF officers have asked why Ashkenazi didn’t
confront Galant with the document’s content before Channel 2’s
Some have also asked why Ashkenazi did not bring the document
to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s attention.
The assessment within the
army is that the police investigation will now focus on Ashkenazi’s office, as
well as possibly on IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Avi Benayahu, who has denied
allegations that he was involved and who sent a letter to members of the General
Staff this week saying that he had never seen the document before it was
The News First Class Web site said police have bugged some
people who work in Ashkenazi’s and Benayahu’s offices, and in the offices of IDF
major-generals who are candidates for the position of chief of staff.
it turns out that the document was forged, Galant will be cleared of any
wrongdoing and will again be a front-runner to replace Ashkenazi, who is
scheduled to step down in February. The attorney-general has ordered Barak to
refrain from choosing a new army chief until the investigation is
Police released a statement on Tuesday afternoon warning that
media speculation was harming the investigation, and criticizing reports that
Ashkenazi had been questioned.
“We would like to clarify at this stage
that the investigation is being managed under a total media blackout in order to
safeguard the interests of the investigation. The investigation is at its height
and has not yet ended,” police said.
“Therefore, the various and many
reports accompanying the investigation... could disrupt and harm the people
whose names are being raised in the reports, without any basis,” the statement
Police urged the media to “wait for the end of the
investigation, which is based on facts and evidence. We are seeking to complete
the investigation as quickly as possible, while maintaining the appropriate
levels of professionalism and sensitivity that are needed.”
Amnon Abramovitch, who originally reported on the document, told Army Radio on
Tuesday that police suspected it had been forged by people at the helm of the
The suspects allegedly pasted the logo of Arad Communications onto
the document, Abramovitch said.