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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two and a half years too late, Harpaz to be indicted

Two and a half years too late, JPost reports that Boaz Harpaz is to be indicted for forging a document that prevented Yoav Galant (pictured above) from being appointed IDF Chief of Staff by then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak. What's more interesting is that Gabi Ashkenazi, who was the outgoing chief of staff at the time, may also be indicted.
Boaz Harpaz forged the Harpaz Document and will be indicted, according to Ran Nizri, a top aide to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, in statements made to the Knesset Control Committee on Tuesday.
Nizri said the indictment was mostly prepared already and that the only reasons for the delay in indicting him two-and-a-half years after the affair exploded onto the public agenda was to allow the continuing investigations to be completed and to add all additional leads to the indictment. 
Magistrate Advocate General Maj.-Gen. Danny Efroni reported to the Committee that he could not give an exact timeline for a decision on whether he would indict former IDF chief-of-staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and his former top aid Col. (res.) Ezer Viner.
Pressed by Committee Chairman (Shas) MK Amnon Cohen on whether a decision would be made within two to four months, Efroni demurred, but said that investigators would work as hard as they could to come to a decision as soon as possible.
Ashkenazi and Viner are under investigation for the military law violation of conduct unbecoming during their IDF service.
Benny Gantz was eventually appointed chief of staff.

What's missing here is the explanation of why Ashkenazi didn't want Galant appointed chief of staff. No, it wasn't just about Ashkenazi's rivalry with Ehud Barak.
Caroline Glick reports how former Mossad director Meir Dagan and former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi may be weakening Israel's defenses against Iran.
Since the beginning of his first term as prime minister 15 years ago, Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently warned that the greatest dangers Israel faces stem from the forces of global jihad generally and the Iranian regime and its nuclear program specifically. After taking office for the second time in 2009, Netanyahu made blocking Iran’s rise to nuclear power his top priority. He ordered the heads of the Mossad and the IDF to prepare plans to attack Iran’s nuclear installations.

Last Friday, Haaretz reported that former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi refused to obey his order. Rather than prepare strike plans, Dagan and Ashkenazi warned that such a strike would foment a regional war. That is, rather than do their jobs, they made excuses for failing to fulfill their duty to obey Israel’s elected leadership.

Not wanting to take them on directly, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided to wait them out. Dagan and Ashkenazi were both set to finish their terms at the beginning of the year, and Netanyahu and Barak figured they could replace them with commanders who would abide by the government’s wishes. Specifically, Barak and Netanyahu believed that by replacing Ashkenazi with his deputy Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, they would have a military leader willing and able to take on the central challenge of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Barak announced last August that Galant would replace Ashkenazi as IDF chief in January. Galant’s appointment was approved by the government and by the Senior Appointments Commission. But in late January, the government was forced to cancel it. And this week we received new indications that Galant’s appointment fell victim to what has been likened to a palace coup. That is, the government was denied its right to choose its military leader by a group of senior officials who deliberately usurped that power from the government.

In January, we learned that Ashkenazi’s close associate Lt.-Col. (ret.) Boaz Harpaz had forged a document that was transferred by Ashkenazi’s office to Channel 2. The forgery purported to be a memo written for Galant by the public relations firm owned by Eyal Arad – Kadima’s public relations guru. The forged memo detailed a public relations campaign that would discredit Galant’s rivals and Ashkenazi, and so pave the way for Galant’s appointment as chief of General Staff. Channel 2’s broadcast of the memo seriously harmed Galant’s public image.

The police opened an investigation, and Harpaz admitted to forging the document. Despite revelations that Harpaz was in intensive, continuous contact with Ashkenazi’s wife Ronit and had a longstanding close friendship with Ashkenazi himself, the Military Advocate- General decided not to investigate Ashkenazi or any other officer about their ties to Harpaz and his forged document.
Well, at least they're now (apparently) investigating Ashkenazi. But read the whole thing.  Should Weinstein be indicted too?

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