Photo: Knesset Site
Chemi Doron
Photo: Knesset Site

The Tennenbaum outrage

Mazuz must reopen case of drug-dealing former Hizbullah captive

Last week, Elhanan Tennenbaum admitted that he left to Lebanon in order to offer his advice on a drug deal. The person who the State of Israel paid for with dozens of terrorists, including some with blood on their hands, was merely a despicable, small-time dealer.


Moreover, on the witness stand he confessed that despite the agreement he signed with the State, he did not tell defense establishment representatives everything.


The requisite conclusion: The attorney general acted in an extremely unreasonable manner when he decided to grant the man full immunity from justice. The High Court also erred after rejecting in practice the petitions we filed against the immunity deal.


All the details and information I heard back then, as a member of the Knesset's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, failed to convince me that this was indeed a reasonable immunity deal.


In a petition I filed with Ophir Pines in February 2004, I argued that the decision was taken by "deviating from authority and was undertaken rashly and without genuine considerations, without looking into the agreement's implication and without undertaking all means to uncover to truth in other ways."


The defense establishment's argument that Colonel Elhanan Tennenbaum will reveal all the truth in a polygraph test constituted a weak basis that only enhanced the unreasonable nature of that silly agreement. As we may recall, according to various reports even some security officials objected to the deal and failed to grasp how a State grants immunity to a drug dealer only so he would reveal the truth.


However, to my great regret, the attorney general backed the agreement and even defended this miserable decision before the High Court. The court refused to discuss its considerations of reasonability and advised us, the petitioners, to withdraw and call off the petition. That's what we did, and this is what I regret today.


Incomprehensibly stupid deal

And now, as noted, Tennenbaum admits that he did not tell his interrogators all the details regarding the drug deal he was working on abroad. The question this raises is what else did he hide?


According to his fresh testimony, even he himself realized he should stand trial for his actions, as would be the case in any normal country. Yet the State, he claimed, was the one that pressed him into that foolish agreement, and all that's left for us is to ask: Why?


Did the security establishment attempt to hide the huge failure of allowing such person to be involved in top secret projects? Is it possible that the deal stemmed from the fear that the establishment's incompetence will be exposed? We do not have the clear answers for that, yet today it's clear to everyone that this agreement was needless, unreasonable, and incomprehensibly stupid.


The attorney general is also the head of the prosecution, and indictments of all sorts are submitted according to his decision. Did he fail to grasp the public significance of such agreement?


How did he fail to look into the security establishment's genuine motives that pushed it to beg that Elhanan sign the deal? And finally, why did the High Court grant Mazuz a "carte blanche?" It appears it was overly impressed by the magic word "security," which the attorney general's representatives threw around the courtroom.


Perhaps now, Menachem Mazuz will come to his senses and launch a comprehensive examination into all the details and motives that led to the prisoner swap where Israel paid a heavy price and Nasrallah became the Arab nation's dear son. Perhaps the attorney general can use the same opportunity to send Tennenbaum to where he deserves to be – behind bars.


The writer served as a Knesset member on behalf of Shinui


פרסום ראשון: 12.24.06, 17:51
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