To the outside observer, the internal schism in Israel’s ruling Likud political party might seem to be quite confusing.

After all, the three pretenders for party leadership – current Israeli Prime Miinister Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and former Israeli Minister of Public Security, Uzi Landau, are all well known as uncompromising hard liners in the fight against Palestinian terrorism.

All three have served in Likud governments which have ceded territory of the land of Israel in exchange for peace accords with Israel’s Arab neighbors.

So where is the schism?

Over the matter of the unilateral handover of land to the PLO, without any agreement, accord or understanding.

During the last Israeli general election, in February, 2003, the only Israeli political parties to advocate such a position of unilateral land transfer were the Israel Communist Party and the Israeli Arab political parties.

Unlike other Israeli left wing parties and entities such as Labor, Meretz and Peace Now, all of whom advocate the concept of territories for peace, the position of the Israeli Communist Party and the three Israeli Arab political parties now represented in Israel’s Knesset Parliament was more doctrinaire… Give them land; It is theirs; Ask for nothing.

Now, to the surprise of almost every pundit on the Israeli political spectrum, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon led his Likud party to outflank the Israeli Zionist left and instead urged Likud to adopt the â unilateral withdrawal platform of the Israeli Communist Party and the Israeli Arabs.

And not only did Sharon speak about adopting their platform: Sharon implemented their platform with a lightening sweep expulsion of all 21 of the economically viable Jewish communities from the Katif District of Gaza, along with the total eviction of four Jewish communities in Northern Samaria, in the span of less than one month, between August 15th, 2005 and September 12th, 2005.

And last night, Sharon staved aff an an initiative in the 3,000 member Likud central committee to advance the Likud primary election, which might have cost him his job, at least for another six months, when the next Likud primary was >originally scheduled to take place

All this occurred while Palestinian cannons from Gaza were ablaze, attacking Israeli towns and villages throughout southern Israel.

What incentive could Sharon offer his hard line Likud constituency? One need look no farther than Israel’s leading economic newspaper, Globes, whose headlines have been reminding Israeli business people that business in the short tenm with the Palestinian Authority is good business. Israel exports during the year 2004 to the Palestinian Authority surpassed two billion dollars, while less than 400 million dollars worth of goods were imported from the P.A.

And the man whom Sharon appointed to administer the expulsion of the Jewish communities from Gaza, General Eival Giladi, has also been named to run the Portland Foundation, the British owned development foundation which will now invest more than half a billion dollars into the Palestinian Gaza economy.

The main investor in that Portland Foundation is British billionaire Sir Ronald Cohen, a close advisor to the chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Gordon Brown. On the day of the Likud primany. Brown announced that he would come to Gaza to oversee this mass investment, much of will flow back into Israel, while benefiting Israeli contractors who will continue to work with Palestinian laborers for Israeli industries.

How many of these contractors happen to be members of the Likud Central Committee may have had a bearing on last night’s vote which kept Sharon in power.

These are times when short term business interests override concerns for national security.


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.