Gonen Segev, a former MK and Cabinet minister whose vote was one of two key votes that helped pass the original Oslo II Accords, has admitted to drug-smuggling charges.
Segev had long denied attempting to smuggle 32,000 Ecstasy pills from the Netherlands into Israel. This morning, however, he confessed to the charges as part of a plea bargain under which he will be sentenced to five years in prison and a $27,500 fine.
Segev was elected to the Knesset in 1992 on the right-wing Tzomet party ticket - a party that strongly opposed any arrangement with or concessions to the PLO. In 1994, Segev and his party colleague Alex Goldfarb left the party to form the short-lived Yi'ud faction, soon joining the Rabin government in order to provide badly-needed support for the Oslo agreements. It was commonly understood at the time that their reward for voting "left" instead of "right" was a cabinet post for Segev and a deputy ministerial post for Goldfarb.
Yitzchak Klein wrote at the time in The Jerusalem Post (Dec. 8, 1995) as follows:
"The government's present policy rests on the votes of Alex Goldfarb and Gonen Segev. Both the law of the land and a Supreme Court decision originally forbade their joining the coalition. The law was a good law, meant to ensure that MKs did not bargain citizens' votes away for personal gain. Using its majority, the government did away with the law to serve its own ends. Seldom has the gap between the exercise of authority and its moral foundation been so great."
Former Energy Minister Segev is suspected of using a forged diplomatic passport to smuggle the drugs from Holland to Israel. A guard attempted to search him last March as he attempted to leave Holland, but Segev refused, citing his diplomatic immunity. The guard did not agree, and Segev turned around and remained in Amsterdam. He then showed up again at the airport several days later with another bag, and again refused to be searched. The same guard recognized him, and his suspicions were aroused. Segev then called a top Israeli official, saying he suspected that someone had given him illegal contraband without his knowledge. He said he thought it contained chocolate, and again left the bag there. For some reason, the Dutch security officials did not detain him - but when they later checked the bag and found it to contain Ecstasy pills, he was placed under arrest in Israel.
The case against Segev was bolstered by the testimony of an Israeli living in Holland who testified that the former minister gave him a briefcase full of Ecstasy pills to smuggle into Israel. Segev also admitted to forging the expiration date on his expired diplomatic passport in order to smuggle the drugs across borders.
Segev has been found guilty of fraud in the past. Last September, the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court sentenced Segev to a year of probation and fined him $11,300 on charges of credit card fraud and attempting to receive benefits fraudulently.