Gal-On demands details of 'IAF foray'

Wants larger FADC part in gov't decision; Beilin expresses regret over Gal-On's intervention.

September 17, 2007 15:47
2 minute read.
Gal-On demands details of 'IAF foray'

gal-on 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Meretz faction whip Zehava Gal-On demanded on Monday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brief the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the details of the alleged air strike in Syria last week. In a letter addressed to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and FADC Chairman Tzahi Hanegbi, Gal-On said it was Olmert's legal responsibility to inform the committee of all military maneuvers. "The [FADC] is the Knesset's supervisory committee for actions taken by the IDF and the government," wrote Gal-On. "The prime minister must report to the committee and divulge the considerations that led to the IDF's action in Syria, and whether or not all of the possible repercussions of such an action were taken into account." The Knesset must oversee all IDF action beyond Israel's borders - "if not in advance, then at least in retrospect," wrote Gal-On. She said that if Olmert did not update the committee, it would become a "men's club that hears briefings without the capability for real supervision." Gal-On, who is not a member of the FADC, was criticized by members of the committee and the security establishment, including Meretz leader and FADC member Yossi Beilin. "I don't see any reason for criticism on the matter, nor do I see room for disclosure," Beilin said. He added that if he or any other committee member had felt something was amiss with the government's withholding information on the incident, they would have requested a briefing themselves. Kadima MK Yoel Hasson said Gal-On's demand could harm national interests. "Gal-On prefers big headlines at the expense of the state's security. Israel's citizens do not need Gal-On to realize that any act that was carried out was necessary for the security of the state of Israel," said Hasson. Gal-On justified her demand by citing a recent FADC report, which suggested that the committee should increase its supervisory powers over the IDF. That report, written by an FADC subcommittee headed by Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, advised that more parliamentary supervision of the IDF could have prevented mistakes in the Second Lebanon War. According to Gal-On, the IAF's alleged attack was a classic example of a case where parliamentary supervision was necessary. Gal-On's demand followed various speculations by foreign publications regarding the alleged September 7 attack. According to a report in the Sunday Times of London, an Israeli source said the strike had been based on intelligence reports suggesting Syria was planning a "devastating surprise" for Israel. The report also claimed that IDF ground forces were involved in the attack on a Syrian installation, which foreign sources described as a nuclear facility.

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