Acting Without Sanction

Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet continued its regular cabinet meetings on February 8th and 15th, during which Sharon refused to even discus his retreat plans from Katif. When Tourism Minister Benny Elon asked that the issue be put on the cabinet agenda, Sharon acted as if he did not hear the idea.

David Bedein,

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
credit David Michael Cohen
On January 12th, 2004, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addressed the Knesset and reassured Israel's elected representatives that he would present the details of his program for unilateral retreat from the Katif Jewish communities near Gaza to the Knesset and to Israel's allies before moving ahead with implementation. The words of his commitment were: "These steps [unilateral disengagement from the Palestinians] will be undertaken following exhaustive discussions between the coalition parties and with the full cooperation of our international allies, headed by the United States." (According to the official translation.)

However, less than two weeks after making such a commitment, Raanan Gisin, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's foreign press advisor, told journalist Dr Aaron Lerner (January 25th) that "it was not clear if the discussions with the coalition parties would take place before the visit to Washington."

And so it came to pass. On February 5th, Sharon's vice prime minister, Ehud Olmert, suddenly was reported to be in Washington, presenting Sharon's retreat policy as a fait accompli to the highest levels of the US government and US Congress. He concluded his lightning visit with a press conference with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

At the same time, Sharon dispatched representatives to negotiate financial offers to Katif farmers, to offer them lands just east of Katif, in the Besor region, within rocket range of Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet continued its regular cabinet meetings on February 8th and 15th, during which Sharon refused to even discus his retreat plans from Katif. When Tourism Minister Benny Elon asked that the issue be put on the cabinet agenda, Sharon acted as if he did not hear the idea.

Sharon has also not convened the Likud representation in the Knesset to discuss his Katif retreat policy. However, 14 out of the 40 members of the Likud Knesset Members have already signed a letter in which they formally commit themselves to opposing any such policy. The number 14 is significant, since Knesset law allows a faction to split off from its mother political party if that faction is made up of at least one third of the members of that party's representation in the Knesset.

When asked if there would be a meeting of the Likud members of the Knesset with Sharon, Knesset Likud leader Gideon Saar had no answer.

What did happen was that Sharon ordered his office manager, attorney Dov Weisglass, to prepare for a formal presentation of his retreat policy to the US government next week in Washington and to Abu Ala, Arafat's appointed prime minister of the Palestinian Authority; without the sanction of the Israeli government or Knesset.

In other words, Sharon acts on his own, floating a proposal, without the sanction of the Israeli government or Knesset.

At the same time, Sharon has mandated his PR people to lobby Jewish organizations throughout North America to sell his retreat plan; without the sanction of the Israeli government or Knesset. This week, Sharon plans to sell his retreat plan to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Sharon plans to sell his retreat plan to representatives of the US State Department who arrive this week. All, without the sanction of the Israeli government or Knesset.

In other words, Ariel Sharon is trying to get American citizens involved in Israel's democratic process, without going through Israel's democratic process; without the sanction of the Israeli government or Knesset.




top