Former Military Chiefs Call to Investigate Netanyahu's Role in Submarine Affair

'There's only one option, and any 12-year-old can see it – Netanyahu knew,' Ehud Barak said, and Dan Halutz added: 'The vessels came into this world in sin'

Participants in the press conference, April 3, 2019.
Moti Milrod

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak called Wednesday to establish a commission of inquiry into the submarine affair, claiming it is clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knew that the submarines purchased by Israel were not needed.

"There's only one option, and any 12-year-old can see it – Netanyahu knew," Barak told journalists at a press conference attended by former heads of the security establishment. "He knew throughout the years, he knew the whole time. There's no way not to open a commission of inquiry."

Former military Chief-of-Staff Dan Halutz also said that the submarines' purchase "need to be checked," adding that "there should be no secrets kept from the chief of staff and the defense minister, they're the ones who should build the response to these threats."

Halutz said he things the vessels "came into this world in sin, which must be checked. It had no justification, not strategic nor budgetary."

>> Read more: Netanyahu in deep water: Everything you need to know about the submarines scandal ■ Netanyahu 'crossed all red lines' in submarine sale affair, Gantz says ■ Submarines and 'state secrets': The red flags in Netanyahu's latest version | Analysis

Ehud Barak speaking at the press conference, April 3, 2019.
Moti Milrod

The affair is related to Netanyahu's $2 billion purchase of German submarines built by ThyssenKrupp, a shipbuilding firm that acquired a company in which Netanyahu held shares. The prime minister also signed off on Germany's sale of advanced submarines to Egypt, which he allegedly approved without consulting the chief of staff or defense minister.

Netanyahu was questioned but not named as a suspect in a probe related to a possible conflict of interests in the deal. Police recommended charging six suspects, including Netanyahu's lawyer and his former bureau chief, for bribery in the affair.

In March, Netanyahu's chief rival in the upcoming election, Benny Gantz, also called for the establishment of an official state commission of inquiry to investigate Netanyahu after news came out about the premier's involvement and alleged profiting from the sale of submarines to Egypt. 

On Tuesday, the public prosecutor's office of the city of Bochum ni Germany said it had launched an investigation into the submarine affair.