New Petition Submitted Against Halutz Appointment

Ten of the people who signed the "pilots letter," in which they refused to carry out assignments in the territories, petitioned the High Court on Sunday morning - along with members of the Yesh Gvul group and leading academic and literary figures - to demand the court block Major General Dan Halutz's appointment as the IDF's deputy chief of staff.

The petitioners' objection is based on Halutz's part in the IDF operation to assassinate Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh, in which a one-ton bomb was dropped in a residential neighborhood of Gaza City, and killed 14 people, many of them children.

The petitioners argue that Halutz, who was at the time the commander of the Israel Air Force, should be barred from holding a senior position in the IDF.

The petition supplements a High Court request filed six months ago by Yesh Gvul and five literary figures asking that the Court order the IDF Advocate General and the Government Attorney General to launch a criminal investigation into the killing of the children in the assassination of Shehadeh. This earlier request has yet to be reviewed by the Court.

The petitioners include former minister Shulamit Aloni, former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem professors Ze'ev Sternhell and Yaron Ezrahi.

The petitioners write that "Halutz is responsible for one of the most grave acts in the IDF's history." Appointing him deputy chief of staff before a criminal investigation of the Gaza bombing is carried out would be illegal, they claim.