The Israel Defense Forces is assessing the damage done after Gaza Division classified
documents were stolen by a resident of the Arab town of Qalansawe,
who broke into an IDF captain's vehicle.
The incident took place a year ago, when the IDF was planning an attack on the Gaza Strip as hundreds of rockets were being fired on Israel's southern communities.
The officer, who serves as the Gaza Division's non-combat employment department head, left his unit that day to attend his grandmother's memorial service at the Gezer Regional Council cemetery, near Ramla.
Contrary to military orders, he took his binder with him. The file held dozens of classified documents, including intelligence items, maps, orders and presentations - including highly classified information on routine security measures and operations.
Some of the classified material was relevant to all ground and air operations in the Gaza area.
Some of these operational plans included details on manpower allocation, force deployment, training dates and maps that included deployment of IDF
weapons surrounding the border with Gaza.
The binder was left near the driver's seat of the locked,unattended military vehicle while the officer was in the cemetery.
When the officer returned, he was shocked to discover that the car was broken into and the documents were missing. He quickly reported the incident to his commanders and to the police. However, he initially said that there was only a limited amount of highly classified documents, a claim that drew heavy criticism of him later by Military Intelligence officers.
Military Police and Israel Police found the binder 24 hours later in the hands of a Qalansawe resident.
The security establishment estimates that the documents were probably not used and were returned in their entirety. There loss could have placed IDF forces in grave danger.
The officer was recently tried at the Kastina Military Court and,
following a plea bargain, was sentenced to 21 days of of work at an army facility and was also handed a two-month suspended sentence.
His commander, the divisional operations officer, defended him in court and explained that the removal of documents from the base stemmed from the officer's high motivation and his sense of responsibility.
In addition, certificates of merit given to the officer in his previous positions were submitted to the court.
The officer explained: "Nothing was done deliberately here. I have to be in full command of the data. This stemmed from carelessness, excess motivation and a desire to draw the data at all times.
"This decision was made in a fraction of a second, and I didn't think about the file."
The officer, who will be represented by the Southern Command's Military Defense Office, also noted that, "it is common to leave the base for deliberations and take documents with us."
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