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Will a terrorist inherit? (JERUSALEM POST OP-ED) By DAVID BEDEIN 05/08/05)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1115434041272 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 terrorist."

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 property]?"

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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