Yoav Galant's Lawyers to Focus on Damage Control After Ruling

IDF chief-designate will challenge watchdog's conclusions in land case.

The attorneys of the chief of staff-designate, Major General Yoav Galant, are expected today to present Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein with more documents concerning the public lands in Amikam. Galant will try to control the damage caused to him by the state comptroller's report, the summary of which was released to the media on Thursday, and try to confront the comptroller's conclusion that he did not say the truth in an affidavit submitted to the court and in a letter to the Israel Land Administration.

Weinstein has to reach his conclusion on the affair within two days at most. On Tuesday he must meet the deadline for responding to a Supreme Court petition against Galant's appointment filed by the Green Movement. The state comptroller's harsh report may mean Weinstein will decide he cannot protect Galant from the petition. The attorney general may also ask the Turkel committee on military appointments to reconsider its decision to allow Galant's promotion to proceed.

Galant, who received calls of support from dozens of friends and associates over the weekend, appears to be determined to continue standing his ground. His appointment is still scheduled to take place on February 14.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak refrained from commenting on the crisis surrounding Galant's promotion. Considering his famously fraught relationship with the incumbent chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, Barak is unlikely to be interested in extending the latter's term even if Galant's inauguration is delayed, but his hand may be forced by the legal quandaries and the dramatic developments in Egypt.

On Friday, Channel 1 reported that Lt. Col (res. ) Boaz Harpaz, who confessed to forging the "Galant document," is seeking to emigrate. Last week, the prosecution services said it intends to try Harpaz for his role in the affair. The report said that senior defense officials held a consultation regarding Harpaz's move. Considering Harpaz's access to military secrets over the course of his career, his emigration will also need to be decided upon by Attorney General Weinstein.

Yesterday morning, the offices of the Alona Regional Council, which includes Galant's community of Amikam, was visited by two Amikam members known to be close to the officer.

The two asked and were given permission to read documents concerning Galant's property, but they were not allowed to photocopy the documents or take them out of the office.

The two men declined to comment to the media after they left the building. Amikam community secretary Nurit Avissar also declined to comment.

Galant's attorney, Avigdor Klagsbald, is expected to present his client's response to the attorney general today.