Hunting Down Ashkenazi
Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.—The Trial, Franz Kafka
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Justice Goldstone Determined IDF Head
Minister of Defense Ehud Barak chose Yoav Galant to replace Gabi Ashkenazi as the IDF Chief of Staff. Despite Barak’s political weakness, on September 5, 2010, the Israeli government approved his nomination of Yoav Galant. In the distant past, Galant had commanded the 13th Flotilla, the unit that massacred Turkish civilians in the Gaza’s Freedom Flotilla event. In 2005, Galant was appointed as commander of the IDF Southern Command, which includes Gaza Strip. He directly commanded Operation Cast Lead and this role put him in the lead of Barak’s candidates list to be the next Chief of Staff. As a matter of fact, he was no less responsible than Gabi Ashkenazi for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the IDF there. However, in our strange world, Galant’s career was almost spared. A Galant act of terror passed almost unnoticed. Almost, for the Israeli government was quietly forced to change their choice. As often happens, several forces were at work. It was obvious to everybody that Galant would be shunned by the international community. Could the U.S. Chief of Staff meet somebody who could face trial by the ICJ for crimes against humanity? Moreover, General Ashkenazi preferred somebody else. Against all odds, the general bent the minister’s arm backwards and got his choice.
Not everything has been made public; the only thing known for sure is that there was an unexpected delay in the formal election of Galant. On February 5, 2011, Ehud Barak announced he favored General Gantz as Chief of Staff. Eight days later, the decision was approved by the government. On February 14, 2011 Gantz assumed command as the Chief of Staff of the IDF. Gantz who?
During Operation Cast Lead, Major General Benny Gantz was the IDF military attaché in Washington, when days before the UN approved the Goldstone Report he was appointed the IDF Deputy Chief of Staff and his fate changed forever. Usually, getting the attaché position means getting an easy job before retiring from the IDF. Yet, because he was in Washington during the attack on Gaza, Gantz remained unstained by the shame of participating in such a brutal, savage event. Justice Goldstone hit the IDF hard, determining who was to follow Ashkenazi as Chief of Staff. Gantz was untainted by Goldstone, but happy to throw mud on him. On January 31, 2010, he gave an interview to the Israeli media, in which he attacked Justice Goldstone on religious grounds. He said that since the judge is of Jewish background and is criticizing the State of Israel, then he is a Trojan Horse taking advantage of his position in the international legal system. Bottom line, it was a battle won by General Ashkenazi and Justice Goldstone and a public humiliation for Ehud Barak. A proud Pharisee, Barak had no intentions to either forgive or forget.
Israel’s State Comptroller gets involved
On March 4, 2012, Israel’s State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss issued a draft report on the investigation of the “Harpaz Document,” a forged document outlining a purported plan to promote General Galant’s candidacy to become the IDF’s Chief of General Staff. In his report, Lindenstrauss dropped strong hints that Ashkenazi was linked to efforts in 2010 to discredit Barak and Galant. Next day, Gabi Ashkenazi answered the State Comptroller report. He said that he had made mistakes during the affair. “I will study the report and learn its lessons,” he said in a jargon typical of IDF officers. He added that there should never be such tense relations between the Defense Ministry and the General Staff, as there were between him and Ehud Barak. The state comptroller made clear in the report that he did not see Ashkenazi and Barak as equals: “As insufferable as Barak can be, he was clearly Ashkenazi’s superior. Ashkenazi, as the military man, was obligated to submit to the demands of the political echelon,” he added. Ashkenazi is expected to lead a legal and public campaign to alter the final version of the report. “For exactly 40 years I wore my IDF uniform with pride. ... I am proud of my service. ... It pains me that during my mission as Chief of General Staff I got caught up, not to my benefit, in an unprecedented attack,” Ashkenazi said. It is unclear if he was referring to the Harpaz Document Affair, or to his terrorist attack on Gaza.
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