Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz on Monday urged the committee headed by Maj-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, probing the events that led to the kidnappings of the Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, to broaden its investigation and to examine specifically the responsibility of the General Staff and the Northern Command. On Sunday evening, Almog said that the July kidnappings could have been prevented. Almog presented his findings to the media in Tel Aviv on Sunday, hours after Brig.-Gen. Gal Hirsch, the commander of Division 91, handed in his resignation. Defense Minister Amir Peretz accepted the resignation, which was offered as a result of Almog's findings. Halutz, however, asked Hirsch to retract his resignation.
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Almog compared the July 14, 2006 kidnappings in the North with the October 7, 2000 kidnappings, saying the same problems led to both cases of abduction.
In neither case, however, were there any specific warnings of impending attacks.
"If only the instructions written by Hirsch, which were meant to prevent kidnappings, had been enactedâ€¦ but nothing was done," lamented Almog. "Not only on the day of the kidnapping, but also on each day of the three weeks that the reserves battalion was in the area."
Based on Almog's findings, Halutz said that a massive gap existed between the understanding of the threat of kidnappings and the readiness to prevent such an event.
His other central conclusion was that a large gap existed between the instructions from Division 91 commanders and the carrying out of the orders on the ground. "In the end, we're dealing with what happened on the ground."
The inquiry also found severe faults in the functioning of officers from the divisional commanders up. Hirsch contested the findings, which stated that he did not verify that his instructions were being carried out and that there was a discrepancy between planning moves and their implementation.
Before the findings of the inquiry were released to the public, Halutz had already rejected part of the conclusions reached by the Almog commission.
In the meeting where the findings were presented, Halutz told the committee members to reinvestigate some parts of their inquiry.