Galant to meet state comptroller to explain land deals

Green Movement petitions High Court for interim injunction barring Galant from being appointed chief of staff until the court rules land issue.

Galant 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Galant 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss has summoned incoming chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant to a meeting next week in the context of his examination of allegations that Galant illegally occupied public lands and lands owned by the Israel Lands Authority and had been given favorable treatment regarding 35 additional dunams of agricultural land, the state comptroller’s spokesman said on Tuesday.
Furthermore, before the meeting, Galant will provide the state comptroller with a written account of his version of these matters, including how he obtained control of the land near his home in Moshav Amakim and why some of the problems had not yet been rectified.
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Meanwhile, lawyers representing the Green Movement petitioned the High Court of Justice for an interim injunction barring Galant from being appointed IDF chief until the court rules on the core of the petition. In the main part of the petition, the party demanded that the Turkel Committee, which approved Galant’s appointment, should reconsider the matter because it was unaware of all the facts regarding the land affair when it gave its approval.
Galant is scheduled to be sworn in on February 14.
In another brief to the court, the party demanded that the state reveal the interim findings that the state comptroller gave the state because they had a bearing on the petition.
On Monday, the state informed the court that the state comptroller had handed over material regarding Galant’s land affairs that could affect the petition. As a result, the state asked the court to give it until February 1 to reply to a court decision asking it to supply more information on some of the land issues that had been raised by the petitioners. The state explained to the court that the material supplied by the state comptroller included information that had not been in its possession when it prepared its original response to the petition.
Regarding the upcoming meeting between Lindenstrauss and Galant, the state comptroller’s spokesman, Shlomo Raz, said it was routine for the state comptroller to meet with subjects of his investigations and that it was also routine for these subjects to present material in advance of the meeting.
Regarding the request for an interim injunction, the Green Movement’s lawyers, Nadav Applebaum and Ziv Glassberg, explained that the state would only submit its response to the court’s questions on February 1. The court would then give the petitioners a few days to reply to the state. That would not leave enough time for the court to study the material and rule on the petition before Galant became chief of General Staff.
“Galant’s appointment before the petition is fully considered would constitute a grave blow to the rule of law in the IDF and the state itself,” Applebaum said. “It would convey a problematic message to the Israeli public that a man who allegedly perpetrated forbidden acts is approved to fulfill one of the most senior functions in the public service. This, despite the fact that there is a petition that is pending on the question of his appointment and the fact that there is an examination under way by the state comptroller.”
Regarding the demand to see the material that the state comptroller handed over to the state, the lawyers charged that in its request to postpone its answers to the court, the state “did not give any details [about the state comptroller’s material], even though the information is relevant to the legal procedure.”
They also said that the state’s representative in the petition, attorney Einat Golomb, had refused their request to see the state comptroller’s material, on the grounds that the facts were still being examined and were therefore not conclusive.