Will a terrorist inherit? (JERUSALEM POST OP-ED) By DAVID BEDEIN 05/08/05)
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Supporters of Israel abroad generally believe that they should back
its democratically elected government. But today those supporters
must cope with an unprecedented dilemma, after Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon circumvented the decisions of his own government.
How did this come about?
After the Likud referendum rejected the initial Disengagement plan of
April 2004 on May 2 of that year, the Sharon government added a vital
provision forbidding 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...."
Despite this governmental decision, Sharon has been working to
transfer confiscated Jewish assets to the World Bank, and then to the
Palestinians, in an arrangement that simply eliminates the condition
of "not involved in terror." In the June 2004 monograph signed by
World Bank president James Wolfensohn and presented to Israel and the
PLO entitled "Disengagement, Palestinian Economy and the
Settlements," 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 be quite theoretical, were it not 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 Gush
Katif and Samaria to senior Palestinian Authority security official
Muhammad Dahlan, defined by senior members of the Sharon government
of Israel as an unrepentant terrorist.
Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wrote in the Wall Street Journal of
June 2, 2002: "Mr. Dahlan is the man who has presided over an ever-
fortified terrorist network. Gaza, home to Hamas and Islamic Jihad,
became a base for some of the most heinous terrorist attacks
unleashed against Israel." 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 Deif, 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 ground for the hundreds of
Kassam missiles fired at Israel."
Olmert asserted 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.... Criminals such as Mr. Dahlan... can never be reformed; they
must be eradicated by force."
ON OCTOBER 26, 2004, following the Knesset vote approving
Sharon´s "Disengagement Plan," I asked Olmert if anything had changed
in hiss assessment of Dahlan that he had written two years before.
His answer: "Nothing has changed with Dahlan. He is still a
A class-action suit against Muhammad Dahlan is now pending on behalf
of those whose loved ones were maimed or murdered on the Kfar Darom
school bus in November, 2000. In the attack, two schoolteachers were
murdered; 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 Shaul Mofaz who,
in his position as then IDF chief of staff, publicly blamed Dahlan
for the attack. Mofaz reiterated this to the Cohen family at the
Soroka Hospital, where the children were recuperating.
There is a saying in the Bible that refers to a king transferring the
property of a murdered man to his killer. As the Prophet Elijah said
to King Ahab, "Have you murdered [him] and also inherited [his
There was never any government decision to hand over the confiscated
assets of Jews to their murderers. In fact, 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?
The writer is bureau chief of the Israel Resource News Agency. (©
1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post 05/08/05)
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