Ariel Sharon Hijacks Israeli Democracy

In a democratic system, if a head of state's foreign policy initiative is rejected by his cabinet, government, legislature and the political party of that head of state, such a leader would normally be expected to at least drop his foreign policy initiative, if not resign.

David Bedein,

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credit David Michael Cohen
In a democratic system, if a head of state's foreign policy initiative is rejected by his cabinet, government, legislature and the political party of that head of state, such a leader would normally be expected to at least drop his foreign policy initiative, if not resign.

And so it is occurring that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's January 2004 initiative to demolish 21 Israeli farming communities in the Katif district of Gaza and hand them over to the PLO, now at war with the state of Israel, was not approved by the Israeli government, the Israeli security cabinet, the Knesset parliament or by the Likud central committee. As Hebrew University Law Professor Eliav Schochetman put it, an Israeli prime minister who wished to demolish or relocate Jewish communities would require a clear majority of the Israeli Knesset to support new legislation in that regard. Otherwise, notes Schochetman, the prime minister simply has no authority to act in that way.

Despite this, Sharon brings his Katif demolition plan to the White House this coming Wednesday, openly stating that he wants a situation where the U.S. government will endorse Sharon's program for unilateral retreat and removal of Jews from anywhere in the Gaza Strip. Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was more explicit, saying that if the Israeli Knesset or the Israeli cabinet were to subsequently reject the idea, then the U.S. and other nations would place international sanctions on Israel.

And since Olmert oversees the Israeli government-controlled radio and television, he has seen to it that the Israel State TV and Israel State Radio, known as the Israel Broadcasting Authority, drum into the heads of the Israeli people that the 8,500 Katif residents live "in the heart of Gaza", even though the Katif farming communities were developed on sand dunes located far from the city of Gaza or from the UNRWA camps dominating the Gaza Strip.

Sharon and Olmert have engaged the services of PR experts to market the idea of the Jews in Katif as being a "burden on the people of Gaza" to both the American government and to Jewish organizations throughout the U.S. They do this to galvanize support for their plan. For the first time since the Israeli Labor Party left power in February 2001, the Israeli government will work with the Americans for Peace Now to lobby Congress to support a program that calls for unilateral eradication of Israeli communities established in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Sharon's closest friends and colleagues have abandoned him. Sharon's closest friend in the media for the past 55 years, Uri Dan, issued an open letter to Sharon on the day before Passover, in which Dan posed ten questions to Sharon which challenged the wisdom of the plan for the removal of the 21 Jewish farming communities of Katif. One of those questions warned Sharon that the vacuum left by a unilateral retreat could very well transform Katif into an Arab terror haven.

Sharon has not responded to the hard questions put to him by Uri Dan.

But Sharon has a new friend and advisor: Dov Weisglass. Weisglass acts as Sharon's lawyer and office manager. Before directing Sharon's affairs in government, Weisglass acted as the lawyer for the Director of PLO finances, Muhamad Rashid, and as the lawyer and head of investments for the PLO's casino in Jericho. In his position, Weisglass has renewed Israeli financial transfers to the armed forces of the Palestinian Authority, which are directly involved in terror actions against Israeli citizens throughout Israel.

To make matters worse, the man responsible for running the terror operations of the PLO for the past four years, Jibril Rajoub, will also be coming to Washington this week to ask the U.S. for appropriate weapons to help him take over the Gaza Strip once Israel withdraws its civilians.

Rajoub is the same PLO official who requested and received sophisticated weaponry from the U.S. during the first stage of the Oslo process, under the pretext that the PLO was going to fight Islamic terror groups. Israel was then under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, both of whom went along with the idea. However, Rajoub openly incorporated Islamic terror groups within the PLO security forces, who then launched a terror war against Israel; all while introducing police state control of his own people.

Today, the situation is repeating itself:

Rajoub asks for weapons from the U.S., again under the pretext of controlling Islamic terror, and proclaims he has the support of the Israeli security establishment and the Israeli government to take over Gaza. In other words, Rajoub intends to ethnically cleanse Gaza of its Jews -- with the approval of Ariel Sharon.

And since the PLO claims the Negev and Israel's coastal region under the premise of the "right of return" to lands lost in 1948, Rajoub's army will not stop with Katif. Katif will be only another step to taking the rest of Israel, as Hamas has said it will do all along.

Sharon's office was asked if the Israeli Prime Minister would deny giving sanction to arming the Palestinian warlord, Rajoub. Sharon's office would not deny giving such sanction. The Israel Foreign Ministry and Israel Defense Ministry also refused comment.

Most recently, Rajoub addressed the board of governors of the American Jewish Committee and, indeed, endorsed terrorism against Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria or Gaza. The director of the AJC Jerusalem office would issue no statement attacking Rajoub, saying that Rajoub's appearance was approved by the Israeli government.

The question remains whether the Bush Administration will accept a situation of an Israeli government ruled by the arbitrary decrees of Ariel Sharon and a Palestinian Arab entity ruled by a thug. President Bush has long stated that his purpose is to see a democratic Palestinian Arab entity co-exist with Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East.

If President Bush welcomes Sharon's imposed initiative and arms Rajoub, the American government will snuff out one democracy and create yet one more Arab totalitarian regime in the Middle East.

Will this path only further serve to set the world on fire?