JERUSALEM (Jun. 22)
Attorney General Yosef Harish was meeting Sunday with Deputy Premier Yitzhak Sharmir and Justice Minister Yitzhak Modai to discuss the case of Avraham Shalom, head of Israel’s internal security services, Shabak, who has been accused of obstructing justice.
Harish, in office less than a month, has said he supports a secret investigation of the charges but noted he was obliged by law to consult with senior ministers before deciding how to proceed. He is expected to meet on the subject with Premier Shimon Peres but no time has been set.
Harish appeared before the Supreme Court Friday in a 4 1/2 hour secret hearing on a petition by one of Shalom’s former subordinates who wants the Shabok chief suspended and himself re-instated. Although the hearing was closed, the media reported that Harish spoke in defense of Shalom.
The petitioner, Rafi Malka, was recently dismissed from Shabak, also known as the Shin Bet. The reason was not disclosed but his dismissal followed his complaint to former Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir that Shalom ordered the killings of two Arab bus hijackers while they were in custody of security agents and subsequently organized an elaborate cover up when the matter came under investigation before a Shabak internal disciplinary court and two other quasi-judicial bodies.
HARISH AVOIDS CONSULTING ATTORNEYS
Harish reportedly argued against suspension until a formal investigation of the charges is launched. He went to court Friday unaccompanied by the three senior State Attorneys who had helped Zamir build what the latter called a prima facie case against Shalom. According to the media, Harish avoided consulting with the attorneys, Dorit Beinish, Ehudit Karp and Yehudit Tzur.
In an apparently unrelated development, attorneys throughout the country held one-hour rallies Sunday to protest what are claimed to be inuendos and defamation of character against the three women attorneys.
A statement read out at two of the meetings charged that there was a campaign to cast aspersions on senior legal staff of the Justice Ministry and to remove them from the decision-making process. Details of the alleged slander have not been made public.
State Attorney Yona Blattman charged in a radio interview that there are certain people who are determined to “get rid of attorneys.” There had been considerable resentment against Zamir who held the office for nearly seven years before he resigned earlier this month. His critics charged he was too liberal and too independent.
Meanwhile, two members of the Inner Cabinet spoke out over the weekend in favor of a full scale inquiry into the charges against Shalom. Deputy Premier Yitzhak Navon said Israel’s security would be damaged if there was no probe and Police Minister Haim Barlev concurred.
Peres, Shamir and a majority of the Inner Cabinet objected strongly when Zamir ordered a police investigation. Peres and Modai subsequently indicated they would accept a judicial inquiry conducted in secret. Shamir has opposed any kind of investigation on national security grounds.