IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi speaking at an event for wounded soldiers in June, 2010 Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Wednesday made his first public remarks regarding the document at the center of a row over the appointment of the next IDF chief of staff, saying he trusts that authorities will bring the truth to light.

"The IDF has been cooperating with the investigation for ten days," Ashkenazi told an audience attending a graduation ceremony for IDF officers in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening. "All I can say is we are relying on Israel Police to bring the truth to light as soon as possible."

The document, which was exposed on Channel 2 news on August 6, features the logo of Arad Communications, and is said to outline a public relations campaign for GOC Southern Command Yoav Galant, who is among the candidates to succeed Ashkenazi.

Police now believe the document was forged, as part of a plot involving current and retired senior IDF officers to influence the appointment.

Ashkenazi went on to say that the affair is harming those involved and also harms the public's attitude toward the army. "If some fault is found, we will deal with it swiftly," the chief of staff said. "That is what is expected of us and that is what we will do."

The chairman of the Knesset's security committee earlier on Wednesday called for an emergency session to debate the growing storm over the race for the post of IDF chief amid allegations of forgery and smear tactics among top brass.

Ashkanazi, meanwhile, told police on Tuesday that the “Galant document” was in his possession for weeks and that he did nothing with it. He gave a copy to the police, causing them to defer their request for a court order to force Channel 2 to release its copy of the document.

While Ashkenazi is not suspected of any criminal offense, he has come under fire for failing to hand immediately to police a document that seems to suggest a conspiracy to cause a rift between him and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Dozens of people have given statements to police in connection to the affair. Investigators are expected to begin questioning suspects under caution.