Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant yesterday castigated the state comptroller and attorney general for their probes into the land scandal that cost him the post of Israel Defense Forces chief of staff. He also blasted the media for what he termed a "hideous propaganda" campaign against him.
Galant had been tapped to succeed IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi this month, but his appointment was revoked due to allegations he seized public lands near his home on Moshav Amikam.
In a statement submitted to the High Court of Justice yesterday, Galant accused the media of "hideous propaganda" aimed at inciting public opinion against him and against those who appointed him. It is impossible to believe this media campaign had no influence on those who made the decisions in his case, he said in the brief, which was submitted in response to a petition against his appointment by environmental organizations.
But was particularly furious at State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein for conducting two separate examinations of his appointment, thereby creating a "competition" between their offices. That undermines the credibility of whichever office "loses" the competition, Galant wrote, but above all, it causes "mortal harm" to the probes' subject: He was forced to undergo two different investigations that seemingly produced different findings.
Moreover, he charged, Lindenstrauss had no legal authority to investigate the land issue, because the law bars him from investigating any issue currently before a court - which his case was, due to the green organizations' petition. And, the comptroller failed to inform either Weinstein or the court that he was probing the affair, nor did he tell them that he had new information about the case, Galant said.
Galant complained Lindenstrauss required him to respond to the comptroller's draft report within two days, and then gave him only another two days to respond to the final report that was submitted to Weinstein. As a result, he said, he was prevented from contacting witnesses who could have corroborated his version of events.
Asked for comment, the State Comptroller's Office said, "the vast majority of the state comptroller's complaints about Galant's conduct" are "indisputable facts, and Galant does not deny them." These include the fact that he annexed 28 dunams of public land and that he evacuated the land only four years after the authorities demanded that he do so, it said.
"There is also no dispute that Galant signed an affidavit submitted to the court even though it was untrue," or that he wrote a letter containing untruths to the Israel Lands Administration, the statement continued.
Finally, it said, Galant's claim that the comptroller had no authority to investigate his case is groundless: "First, at no time, in any discussion with the comptroller, was the 'lack of authority' claim raised" by either Galant or his lawyer. "Secondly, the attorney general himself asked the comptroller to complete the inquiry, including by taking testimony from Galant. It is inconceivable that the attorney general would ask that of the comptroller if the latter had no authority to do so."
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