ISRAEL SUCCUMBS TO DICTATORSHIP

By Prof. Paul Eidelberg
President, Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, Jerusalem

Below are various statements issued by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his cabinet ministers, as well as certain actions taken by his government, which indicate that Israel, far from being a democracy, is a democratically elected dictatorship. Let the following facts be submitted to a candid world.

(1) The central issue of the January 2003 national election in Israel was "unilateral disengagement," which involves the evacuation of some 10,000 Jews from their homes and farms in Gaza and northern Samaria and rewarding Arab terrorists with this Jewish and now flourishing land. The Labor Party campaigned for disengagement. The Likud Party, led by Mr. Sharon, campaigned against disengagement.

(2) An overwhelming majority of the public voted for parties that opposed disengagement. Indeed, the Likud won twice as many Knesset seats as Labor -- something unprecedented in Israel's history.

(3) Nevertheless, before the year ended, Prime Minister Sharon adopted Labor's pro-disengagement position!

(4) To gain cabinet approval of disengagement, Mr. Sharon fired two cabinet ministers who opposed his virtual nullification of the January 2003 national election.

(5) When the parties represented by those ministers resigned from his government, Mr. Sharon formed a new government with the Labor Party, a government that was approved by less than a majority of the Knesset.

(6) These unethical acts on the part of Mr. Sharon -- and I have mentioned only a few -- have raised the specter of civil war in Israel. It is widely feared -- and Likud Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has stoked this fear -- that disengagement will be extended to the "West Bank," hence that 200,000 more Jews will be expelled to facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state.

(7) No less than Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, IDF Chief of Staff as well as Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, head of IDF Intelligence, and Avi Dichter, director of the Shin Bet (General Security Service), have warned that disengagement will increase Arab terrorism.

(8) Ex-Deputy IDF Intelligence Chief, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror has publicly declared: "The Israeli government has not succeeded in producing a single serious argument that can refute objections [to "disengagement"] and justify the grave steps that it is taking."

(9) Nevertheless, on February 13, Prime Minister Sharon told his cabinet, "Anyone who speaks or writes against the Disengagement Plan is guilty of incitement."

(10) The next day, Likud Minister of Internal Security, Gideon Ezra, in a live interview on Israel Radio, said that people who shout at ministers should be placed under administrative detention -- which means incarceration up to six months without trial.

(11) Likud Transportation Minister Meir Shitreet told Israel Radio that Likud party members are guilty of incitement when they write letters to Likud MKs informing them that future political support for these politicians is dependent on their voting against the withdrawal/expulsion plan.

(12) MK Effi Eitam said in the Knesset: "I must tell you, Mr. Prime Minister -- and though you are not honoring us with your presence, the words will certainly reach you -- that I have served the country for many years on the battlefield, and during difficult and tense moments, but I have never heard from government elements in the State of Israel such unrestrained incitement as that which was heard from your confidantes and coalition partners... 'Break their bones!' your confidantes whispered, and the headlines blared it. Whose bones precisely do you intend to break, Mr. Prime Minister? Those of little children? Pregnant women? Civilian protestors?"

(13) Undeterred, the cabinet, on February 27, approved Likud Justice Minister Tsipi Livni's proposal to establish a new ministry unit, with 15 full-time lawyers, devoted solely to combating "incitement" and "violence" by disengagement opponents, even though such a unit would add nothing to the ministry's existing law-enforcement capabilities. All it does is discourage legitimate dissent.

(14) Henceforth anti-disengagement protests will be scrutinized far more carefully than other protests, and "borderline cases," which the ministry usually ignores, are liable to be prosecuted where disengagement is involved. This will stifle freedom of expression.

(15) Moreover, the Prison Service Commission has been allocated 19 million shekels to prepare 900 prison spaces for people who disrupt the disengagement. Such otherwise law-abiding citizens will be incarcerated as outright criminals.

(16) The Sharon government has portrayed opponents of disengagement as lunatics and fanatics with whom no normal person would want to be associated -- even though many of the opponents are lawyers, former military officers, professors, rabbis, and former cabinet ministers.

The above evidence clearly indicates that Israel is becoming a police state. There is a way to stop this fascist development. Prime Minister Sharon and his underlings fear only one thing: the loss of their democratic reputation in the United States.

Therefore, convey the above information to American congressmen and to the media. Let them express horror at what is happening in Israel and it will be immediately conveyed throughout this country. If a peaceful protest of 50,000 Lebanese citizens can force Lebanon's pro-Syrian government to resign, surely a protest of 100,000 Jews can force the Sharon government to resign, once it has been exposed both in the United States and in Israel, as a dictatorship.

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Prof. Paul Eidelberg is a member of the Board of Directors of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.


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