Ciechanover Commission


Ciechanover Commission
   Committee established by the Benjamin Netanyahu government to investigate the Mossad's botched attempted assassination of Hamas official Khaled Mashaal on 25 September 1997 in Amman, Jordan. Officially designated as a "clarification" committee that was to report to the cabinet alone, it was chaired by Joseph Ciechanover, former legal adviser to the Defense Ministry, director general of the Foreign Ministry, and chairman of the board of directors of El Al. Its other members were to have been Rafi Peled, former national police chief and director general of the Israel Electric Corporation, and Nahum Admoni, former Mossad chief and director general of the Mekorot Water Company. However, Admoni soon resigned amid suggestions of a conflict of interest, and he was replaced on the committee by Don Tolkovsky, former commander of the Israel Air Force and a retired businessman.
   The committee's final report was submitted to the government in mid-February 1998. It was highly critical of all aspects of the failed Mashaal operation, calling it "amateurish" and "negligent." While it absolved Prime Minister Netanyahu of responsibility for the actual operation, it did rebuke him for approving an attempted assassination on Jordanian soil. The report laid much of the blame for the botched operation at the feet of Mossad chief Danny Yatom and his director of operations. (The latter, whose name was withheld for security reasons, had already resigned on 14 November 1997.) Among the report's specific findings were the following: the Mossad did not inform its representative in Amman of the planned attempt, many of the details of the plan were left vague, there were not enough agents or enough escape vehicles, the Mossad did not expect Mashaal to have bodyguards, and the agents surrendered immediately when caught. The committee was divided on whether Yatom should be fired for his role in the debacle, leaving it up to the prime minister and cabinet to determine his fate; Yatom resigned on 24 February 1998. Finally, the Ciechanover Commission recommended the appointment of a special intelligence adviser in the prime minister's office (PMO) to advise the prime minister on all clandestine operations and to liaise between the PMO, the Mossad, and other branches of the intelligence and security community.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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