Yonatan Bassie, appointed by Ariel Sharon to set up the administrative office designed to implement Sharon’s plan, invited his critics to meet with him.
I took Bassie up on his offer, and was graciously received by him this past Wednesday, September 8th, in his office, which is located at 7 Kanfei Nesharim Street in the Givat Shaul neighborhood Jerusalem
Bassie, a member of Kibbutz Sde Eliahu, a settlement comprised of Orthodox Jewish farmers in the Beit Shean Valley, described himself as a veteran administrator of agricultural settlements who wanted to sensitively help each and every citizen of the Katif farming communities to relocate to a new community.
Bassie asked what were the concerns of the people who had been criticizing him and his work
I elucidated eight concerns, pausing after each concern to give Bassie the opportunity to listen and digest each point:
1. Concern for Democracy The Knesset has never been asked to approved Sharon’s plan.
2. Concern for Human rights: Section Six of the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights forbids a government from destroying the homes of its citizens. Israel is a signatory to that declaration. In that light, how can Israel destroy homes and farms of its citizens and hand them over to Arab terrorists?
3. Concern for International Law: The League of nations and then the United Nations guaranteed the right Jews to purchase and settle land in the “Jewish National Homeland”, defined by both international bodies as anywhere west of the Jordan river
4. Concern for strengthening the military power of a sworn adversary of Israel: Clause five of the Sharon Plan calls for Israel to once again train the Palestinian security forces, while clause one of the Sharon Plan states that there is no Palestinian partner for peace.
5. Concern for strengthening Egypt – At a time when senior sources in Israel’s security establishment confirm that Egypt has armed terrorists throughout Gaza, Israel is negotiating the possibility of handing over security responsibility to Egypt. The question is why?
6. Concern for appeasing a terrorist: Israel has been negotiating the transfer of power over the Palestinian Authority to Muhammad Dahlan. Only two years ago, The Israeli government released Dahlan’s security file to the Wall Street Journal. That file shows that Dahlan is directing involved in organizing the campaign of premeditated cold blooded murder that Israel has suffered from over the past four years
7. Concern for corruption: The Israel government official who has authored the Sharon Plan, The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Dov Weisglass, has never closed his law firm or his business, where Weissglass continues to be a business partner of the leading enterprises which operate in the Palestinian Authority. Weissglass continues to represent the Palestinian casino business, which plans to develop a resort hotel complex in place of the Jewish communities which the Sharon Plan proposes to demolish.
8. Concern for the fact that Bassie’s office operates without the authorization and funding of the Knesset Finance Committee. I showed Bassie a letter from the Israel Civil Service Commission which the commission’s spokesman had sent to our news agency, which explicitly stated that the Israeli government could not legally pay salaries for Bassie’s ten workers nor could the government sign any contract, unless and until the Knesset Finance Committee authorized the funding for Bassie’s office.
Bassie shuffled uncomfortably in his chair as I reviewed each of these concerns, commenting only about the last concern brought to his attention: The fact that the Knesset Finance Committee had not approved funds for his office to function.
Bassie said that his staff had worked voluntary for the past two months, and that they had all expected to be paid.
Bassie nervously commented that he had first heard about the legal authorization issue on the radio two days earlier, when a member of the Knesset referred to the Civil Service Commissioner’s ruling that his office could not function without legal authorization.
Bassie was also surprised to learn from me that the Israel Finance Committee would not be meeting next week, to which Bassie reacted with the comment that “If they do not approve funds for this office, I will close this office next week”.
Sources at the Knesset Finance Committee report that the committee may convene shortly after the Jewish New Year, which occurs on September 16th and September 17th this year.
The fate of Sharon’s plan lies in the hands of the Knesset Finance Comittee, which may convene sometime between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, the Days of Judgment and Atonement.