Right-wing Group Claims Gantz Also Tainted by Improper Land Grab

Say IDF chief-designate encroached on private land next to Rosh Ha'ayin home.

Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz's appointment as the military's next chief of staff is being contested by a right-wing group that says he encroached on private land and built without a permit.

The news comes after Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant lost his chance to be chief of staff due to allegations he improperly used land next to his home.

Aviad Visuli, chairman of the right-wing Headquarters for the Land of Israel, made his allegations against Gantz in a letter yesterday to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. Visuli wants Gantz's appointment canceled immediately.

Visuli claims that Gantz, a former head of the Israel Defense Forces' Judea and Samaria Division, encroached on public land next to his Rosh Ha'ayin home.

He says that in October 2009, the major general built a deck on the land replete with a concrete support wall, without a permit.

In the letter, Visuli acknowledges that after receiving several warnings from the municipality, Gantz demolished both structures in March last year and withdrew from the land.

"The state prosecution enforces land and construction laws on every ordinary citizen, especially on settlers in Judea and Samaria," Visuli wrote. "IDF forces are used to demolish illegal construction by the latter, according to the military commanders' judgment and without soliciting court orders.

"It follows that the chief of staff is responsible for the demolition of hundreds of illegal structures every year.

"It is inconceivable that a man who allegedly committed criminal offenses against land and construction law and was never tried would be appointed commander of the IDF, which enforces the same laws on Israeli citizens."

Legal sources told Haaretz that the Turkel committee on senior appointments, which was also sent the letter, will look into the matter and consider whether ethical breaches have been made.

For their part, military officials say Gantz demolished the structures at his own expense after being approached by the Rosh Ha'ayin municipality.

They say the matter will be examined by the relevant authorities.