One of the Biggest Questions of the New Year Focuses Around the Question:
What Would Motivate Ariel Sharon to Conduct His Current Policy with the Palestinian Authority?
The Answer: Business Interests.

The man who has been the most visible diplomat representing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in negotiations with the Palestinians and with the U.S. government has been a lawyer by the name of Dov Weissglass – the man who created and engineered Sharon’s withdrawal plan, and the man whom Sharon has delegated to negotiate for Israel with U.S. National Security Advisor Condeleeza Rice and with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Weissglass’s power in the government of Israel with Ariel Sharon at the helm has eclipsed the influence of the highest officials of the Israel Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense. Yet Weissglass has another identity.

Back in December 2002, Israel Resource News Agency uncovered the fact that Weissglass, then the office manager of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was still in private business, listed in the Israel Corporate Registrar as the owner and operator of his law firm, Weissglass-Almagor and a business trust by a similar name

That finding was publicized in the weekly Israeli newspaper, Makor Rishon.

Why is that so important?

Well, it would be one thing if Weissglass’s firm represented Zogloveck, Israel’s kosher sausage firm.

However, Weissglass’s law firm and business trusts represent the financial interests of the Palestinian Authority, including Muhammad Rashid, the treasurer appointed by Yassir Arafat to manage Arafat’s illusive accounts which amount to several billion dollars.

Two Israeli journalists, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharov, have just published a book titled The Seventh War, in which they report that Weissglass actually celebrated the electoral victory of Ariel Sharon in the company of Muhammad Rashid on election night in February, 2001.

In June, 2003 Israel Resource News Agency uncovered the fact that Weissglass’s law firm and business also represent the Palestinian casino firms, which are in part owned by PLO security chief Jibrl Rahoub, and by Yassir Arafat himself.

Why is that important, in light of the demise of the former Palestinian casino in Jericho, that was closed down when the Palestinian Intifada began in October, 2000?

According to the Palestinian tourist publication This Week in Palestine, plans are under way to build a new Palestinian casino and resort for tourists in “Southern Gaza”, in place of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif that now reside there.

And who stands to profit? None other than Dov Weissglass, the architect of the Sharon plan to withdraw those very Jewish communities from Gush Katif.

The logical question to ask would be: Where is the law enforcement system in Israel that would act against any such conflict of interest and possible breach of security?

In January 2003, after it was revealed that the Prime Minister’s office manager, Weissglass, still maintained his law firm and business outside his government job, the Israel Civil Service Commission looked into it and affirmed that Weissglass was indeed still registered in the Israel Corporate Register as part of that law firm. But they dismissed its importance, after Weissglass wrote to the commission that he had divested himself from his law firm and that he had sold all financial interests in his business. To support that claim, The Israel Corporate Authority in April 2003 reported that Weissglass finally removed his name from his law firm in the Israel Corporate Authority records and provided us with a document from the Israel Corporate Authority to prove it.

However, in April 2004, our agency uncovered what the Israel Civil Service Commission did not know, which was that Weissglass’s name was still registered as the lawyer of record for two other firms which bore virtually the same company name, while also located at the same corporate address.

In May, 2004, the Israel Civil Service Commission declared that this represented a conflict of interest for Weissglass.

So in July, 2004 Weissglass quietly resigned his position as the Prime Minister’s office manager, but received permission from the Israel Civil Service Commission to assume a new position as the all-powerful official “advisor” to PM Ariel Sharon.

In other words, although the highest echelons of the Israeli government are cognizant of the fact that Weissglass represents the business interests of Yassir Arafat, Weissglass was still allowed to continue to conduct negotiations on behalf of the state of Israel with all official levels of the Palestinian Authority and the United States government, even though Weissglass continues to represents the business interests of the Palestinian Authority.

You might call this a legalized conflict of interest, Middle East style.

This article ran in on September 27th, 2004