Op-Ed: Israel and the Dawning of the Police State
Published: Sunday, January 20, 2008 10:59 PM
A deeply disturbing trend has emerged.
Cale HahnCale Hahn is an American Gentile living in Texas. He worked as a journalist in Jerusalem in the late 1990s. His articles have appeared in several Israeli, US and international media publications.
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." -- from William Shakespeare's Hamlet
A deeply disturbing trend has emerged in Israel's law enforcement establishment. Each of Israel's prime ministers since Benjamin Netanyahu has been targeted by high-profile criminal investigations just prior to and
Each of Israel's prime ministers... has been targeted.
during "peace process" initiatives.
The timing of the investigations, their ebb and flow, and that the majority continue through the full duration of the prime minister's tenure, is highly suspect and calls into question their true purpose and intent. These trends indicate the effective politicization of Israel's legal institutions as an instrument to an internationalist agenda upon the Jewish state. Necessarily, it would also mean Israel no longer possesses an independent and impartial law enforcement mechanism.
The effects of deploying the "investigative weapon" against Israel's prime ministers are stunning. They have reduced strong men to putty, driven conviction, duty and honor from their hearts, and created servile sycophants in their wake. None of the investigations have produced charges against any prime minister, possibly a testament to the investigative weapon's effectiveness in manipulating behavior.
The general pattern is as follows: the prime minister is involved in intensive negotiations with the Palestinians, Israeli negotiators harden their positions and progress is stalled; a criminal investigation is launched; a barrage of calls for resignations and new elections follows from political and media sources; the prime minister's negotiating bulwarks fall like sand to the waves and he relinquishes previously held ground, "progress" is made in negotiations; the investigation remains open during the remainder of the prime minister's term, and is finally dismissed once he leaves office.
Let it be very clear that observing the tie between criminal investigations and the peace process negotiations is not suggesting the investigations possess no grounds from which to proceed. That Israeli politicians behave like politicians around the world is certainly true. Rather, it is the circumstances and effects upon the negotiating process that these investigations produce that should be examined.
For purposes of brevity, only the premierships of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert will be examined, though the same pattern continues with Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Sharon – February 2001-January 2006
In September 2002, US President George Bush, together with Prime Minister Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas embark on the "Road Map for Peace," a plan for establishing peace based on a terror-free Palestinian state living in peace with Israel. The Road Map is to be composed of ongoing conferences between the parties, the furtherance of which was based on principles of reciprocity.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's personal and political troubles begin soon thereafter. In January 2003, the leftist Israeli daily Haaretz breaks the Cyril Kern Affair. The scandal involves Sharon and his two sons, Omri and Gilad, and includes allegations Sharon took a $1.5 million private loan to repay political debts incurred during his electoral campaign. Israeli police immediately announce they are opening an investigation. Political enemies beat strong and steady drumbeats for resignation and incarceration for the Prime Minister and his sons. The charges are electric, the recriminations constant, the pressure mammoth.
In June 2003, the Aqaba Summit is held in Jordan as part of the Road Map framework. Israel agrees to recognize the Palestinians' rights to an independent state, while the Palestinians promise to end violence against Israel.
January 2004, a second scandal engulfs Sharon in what is known as "the Greek Island Affair." This scandal also involves both of Sharon's sons.
February 2004, Ariel Sharon announces the expulsion of all 8,000 Jewish residents from Gaza and unilaterally turning it over to the Palestinian Authority.
June 2004, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decides not to pursue charges against Sharon in the "Greek Island Affair" scandal. The Cyril Kern Affair, however, is not dropped and continues from bubble to boil.
February 2005, the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit is held, effecting more Israeli concessions, including a prisoner release and withdrawing Israeli security forces from Palestinian cities, in return for recycled Palestinian promises to fight terror.
July 2005, Omri Sharon is indicted over his role in the Cyril Kern affair and faces a potentially lengthy jail term.
The mountainous pressure on Sharon finally fells him.
In August 2005, Ariel "the Bulldozer" Sharon carries out the Gaza evacuation, utilizing 12 companies and 20 reserve companies of Israeli Border Police. Charges of severe police brutality are rampant.
November 11, 2005, Omri Sharon pleads guilty to his role in the Cyril Kern Affair and is sentenced to six months in jail.
The mountainous pressure on Sharon finally fells him; in January 2006, he is overcome by a massive stroke.
Prime Minister Olmert - March 2006-Present
Perhaps the most egregious and transparent example of the corruption of Israeli law institutions for pressuring Israel's prime ministers into making massive and dangerous concessions in Israel's security is the case of Israel's current prime minister, Ehud Olmert.
In October 2007, US Secretary Condoleezza Rice announces the US will be hosting a major peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, to include Israel, most Arab states, the Quartet and the UN. Annapolis is to be the opening shot for ongoing meetings between Israel and the Palestinians towards achieving final settlement on all core issues within one year's time.
During the first week of November 2007, Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas, in a bombshell statement, declares the Palestinians will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He was declaring, in effect, the Palestinians will never recognize Israel. Stunned, Prime Minister Olmert responds by announcing Israel will no longer negotiate with the Palestinians unless they recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Within a few days of this exchange, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz orders police to launch several criminal investigations against Olmert, including a questionable Jerusalem apartment purchase and two others focused on his activities as Trade and Industry Minister.
On November 11, 2008, police from Israel's National Fraud Unit, in spectacular fashion, conduct more than 20 unannounced raids in private and public buildings searching for evidence against Olmert.
Soon thereafter, Olmert furiously backpedals and declares his intention of attending the Annapolis conference despite the Palestinians' refusal to retract their statement.
November 27, 2008, the Annapolis Conference begins.
January 1, 2008, Olmert declares the division of Jerusalem is inevitable.
January 10, 2008- Channel 10 reports Olmert folds on the Arab "right of return" issue and agrees to allow 50,000 Arab "refugees" from 1948 into Israel proper.
Olmert folds on the Arab "right of return" issue.
January 14: Israel and the Palestinians announce the commencement of negotiations for a final settlement with all core issues on the table; and to be concluded in one year's time.
Once again, the specter of criminal indictments and corruption hang over an Israeli prime minister who is in the midst of negotiating matters of life and death on behalf of the Jewish state. If history is any guide, one or more of these charges will remain hanging over Olmert like a sword until he leaves office.
Israel's prime ministers are being blackmailed, squeezed into making dangerous sacrifices in national security in return for saving themselves from prosecution, and from personal and political destruction. Many of Israel's key police officials, judges, prosecutors, attorneys-general and comptrollers are instruments of those who are viciously opposed to anyone who would undermine the "peace process."
It is clear Israel is close to becoming, at least temporarily, an autocratic police state. If allowed to continue, these forces will proceed with ruthless efficiency against those living in Judea, Samaria, the Golan and Jerusalem.