'Weinstein decides not to support Galant appointment'
Report: After late-night deliberations, the attorney-general decides there are legal problems in backing the chosen IDF Chief of General Staff.
By JPOST.COM, DAN IZENBERGPublished: FEBRUARY 1, 2011 11:47Advertisement
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein decided on Tuesday that he would not defend the appointment of Maj.- Gen. Yoav Galant as the next IDF Chief of General Staff before the Hight Court, Army Radio reported.He reportedly notified Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he has found legal problems with supporting Galant.RELATED:Barak backs Galant as appointment goes down to wireKnesset C'tee postpones Ashkenazi farewellAnalysis: Legally and ethically, Galant cannot hold the top IDF postGalant is due to be sworn in as chief of General Staff on February 14. However, Weinstein had to decide whether to continue defending Galant’s candidacy against a petition by the Green Movement, which has called on the High Court of Justice to overturn the government’s decision to appoint him.The petitioners based their demand on allegedly shady, if not illegal, behavior by Galant regarding a number of land affairs on his moshav, Amikam.The Green Movement filed the petition in September and the first hearing on the petition was held on January 10. The state defended Galant against the allegations that he had seized land allocated for public use and turned it into private access roads, taken over 26 dunams (2.6 hectares) of land that did not belong to him, and built part of his home without a permit.The court was not satisfied with the state’s answers and ordered it to provide clarifications on how he had obtained 35 dunams of land for an olive orchard and how he had annexed 350 meters of land to his homestead.Furthermore, the court demanded an explanation as to why the state, in an earlier petition, had mistakenly informed the court that other newcomers to the moshav had also received additional allotments of 35 dunams. The state admitted its error during the hearing, when it told the court that no other newcomer had received an allotment and that those who had requested it had been turned down by the Israel Lands Authority.In the meantime, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss had already begun investigating aspects of the Galant appointment, including a document written by Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz attempting to influence the choice of the new chief of staff, and the land allegations against Galant.A few days after the court had demanded answers from the state, Lindenstrauss informed Weinstein that he had new information that might affect the state’s response to the court.Last week, after handing over the details to Weinstein, Lindenstrauss publicly released the new information, which included allegations that Galant had lied to the Hadera Magistrate’s Court about the illegal expansion of his home and other matters.On Sunday, Galant and his lawyer, Avigdor Klagsbald, met with Weinstein and tried to convince him with documents and maps that Lindenstrauss’s findings were based on errors.After that meeting, the attorney-general convened a group of top prosecutors to consult on what the state’s answer should be to the Green Movement petition in light of the state comptroller’s report and Galant’s response.
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