The Democratically Elected Gov't of Israel

Today, supporters of Israel must cope with an unprecedented dilemma, after the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, circumvented the decisions of his own "democratically elected government."

David Bedein,

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credit David Michael Cohen
There is a consensus of opinion among those who support Israel abroad that they should support "the democratically elected government of Israel." But today, supporters of Israel must cope with an unprecedented dilemma, after the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, circumvented the decisions of his own "democratically elected government of Israel."

How did this come about?

After the Likud referendum rejected the initial April 14, 2004 Sharon Disengagement Plan on May 2nd, 2004, the Sharon government added a vital provision on June 6th, 2004 that forbid Israel from handing over any confiscated Jewish assets to terrorists. That provision, in clause seven, declared, "The State of Israel will aspire to transfer... facilities, including industrial, commercial and agricultural ones, to a third, international party which will put them to use for the benefit of the Palestinian population that is not involved in terror..."

However, without the knowledge or consent of the Israeli government, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon commissioned the transfer of confiscated Jewish assets to the World Bank, and then to the Palestinians, in an arrangement that simply eliminated the condition of "not involved in terror." In the monograph that was prepared by the World Bank for the government of Israel and the PLO entitled "Disengagement, Palestinian Economy and the Settlements" - and issued on June 23, 2004, signed by James Wolfenson, the President of the World Bank - all confiscated Jewish assets are transferred to the Palestinian Authority, without any prerequisite that those who receive the assets have not been involved in terrorism.

All this would have been quite theoretical, had it not been for what occurred over this past month in Aspen, Colorado, when the World Bank and the US Secretary of State hosted marathon sessions with the Israeli government to discuss transfer of confiscated homes and farms in Katif and Samaria to senior Palestinian Authority security official Muhammad Dahlan, defined by senior members of the Sharon government of Israel as none other than an unrepentant murderer and terrorist.

Israel Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wrote in the Wall Street Journal of June 2nd, 2002, that "Mr. Dahlan is the man who has presided over an ever-fortified terrorist network. In Gaza, the home to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which became a base for some of the most heinous terrorist attacks unleashed against Israel." Relying on confirmed intelligence information, Olmert explained that "Dahlan permitted Gaza to become a safe haven for the hundreds of fugitive terrorists fleeing Israeli forces. Among those being sheltered is his childhood friend Mohammed Dief, a leading Hamas mastermind with the blood of scores of Israelis on his hands. In the meantime, Mr. Dahlan's district became the primary launching grounds for the hundreds of Kassam missiles fired at Israel."

Olmert asserted that Dahlan's direct involvement in promulgating terrorism is not merely passive, saying that "Dahlan's involvement in terrorism has not been confined to mere nonfeasance but, rather, gross malfeasance as well. Mr. Dahlan, along with his assistant Rashid Abu-Shabak, are the primary suspects in the terror attack on an Israeli school bus in Kfar Darom in November 2000. The bombing of the bus left half a dozen children maimed, and seriously injured an American citizen, Rachel Asaroff." Olmert advised that "the current thinking that Mr. Dahlan can bring reform and law enforcement to the Palestinians is totally misguided. No democratic state should ever allow itself to do business with those individuals who deliberately target a school bus."

Olmert's advice as far as Dahlan was clear: "Criminals such as Mr. Dahlan. can never be reformed; they must be eradicated by force."

On October 26th, 2004, following the Knesset vote approving Sharon's "Disengagement Plan", I asked Olmert if anything had changed in his assessment of Dahlan that he had written two years before. His answer: "Nothing has changed with Dahlan. He is still a terrorist."

Now, a class action suit against Muhammad Dahlan is pending on behalf of those whose loved ones who were maimed or murdered on the Kfar Darom school bus in November, 2000. In the attack, two school teachers were murdered and four Israeli children, all from the Cohen family in Kfar Darom, lost their legs.

The star witness who will be summoned to court in the suit against Dahlan will be none other than Minister of Defense Sha'ul Mofaz, who, in his position as the IDF Chief of Staff at the time, announced that the perpetrator of the attack on the school bus was none other than Muhammad Dahlan. Mofaz went so far as to tell this to the Cohen family at the Soroka Hospital, where the children were recuperating.

There is a saying in the Bible referring to when a king transfers the property of a murdered man to the man who murdered him. As the Prophet Elijah said to King Ahab, in Kings 21:19, "Haratzachta v'gam yarashta?" - "Have you murdered him and also inherited [his property]?"

There was never any decision of the democratically government of Israel to hand over the confiscated assets of Jews to their murderers. The decision was precisely the opposite. Hence, the dilemma: how do you support the decisions of the democratically elected government of Israel when its prime minister simply circumvents those decisions?