June 2, 2004
Today there are two issues filling our agenda.
First of all, an update dealing with the only Jewish administrative detainee in Israel, Noam Federman. As you may recall, a few weeks ago the Israeli prosecutor’s office dropped all charges against Noam, dealing with the so-called “Bat Ayin terrorist gang.” It was almost two years ago that Noam was arrested, placed under house arrest, and later under administrative detention, suspected of masterminding a “massive terrorist plot” against the Arabs. Three men were convicted. Many others, arrested, were released without charges being filed. Yet others were tried and acquitted. Now, less than a month ago, the prosecution announced that they had no evidence incriminating Noam and that the indictment against him was dropped. However, in answer to the judge’s inquiry, “Now he can go home?” the prosecutor exclaimed, “Of course not, he’s an administrative detainee.”
Several days later the case again reached the Israeli Supreme Court. Justice Ayala Prokatchia, not known to be a “full-blooded extremist settler,” or even a close friend of theirs, asked the State why Noam Federman was still incarcerated, following the “Bat Ayin” acquittal. The State’s reply, based upon ‘secret intelligence information’ was not enough. The judge ordered the case back to the Jerusalem Municipal Court, demanding that the State show cause why Federman hasn’t yet been released.
That court hearing has been continuing now for several days, partly behind closed doors. Municipal court judge Heshin has already hinted that the State has no case, and following on Justice Prokatchia’s ruling, should be released. Noam Federman has, himself, testified for hours, explaining why he should be freed. Again, the “Jewish unit” of the Shabak, the Israeli intelligence organization, testified behind closed doors, presenting hush-hush data, supposedly incriminating Noam. Of course, these facts are so secret that not even Noam nor his attorney can be in attendance while they are presented to the judge. They are also not substantial enough to be the basis of a new indictment. But, so what – why should that make any difference?
However, according to Noam’s wife Elisheva, there is, for the first time in over eight months, a reason for subdued optimism. Noam might just be coming home in the near future. The extended hearing, which has now stretched over three days, is expected to conclude today, following Noam’s final testimony. The judge has announced that a decision will be rendered on Friday afternoon at three o’clock. Just in time for Noam Federman to spend his first Shabbat at home in Hebron, with his family and friends, for the first time in eight months. Let’s hope and pray.
Earlier today Ariel Sharon testified at the Knesset Committee for Foreign Affairs and Security. He pulled a few new rabbits out of his bottomless hat. First, he promised that his revised ‘disengagement plan’ would receive a cabinet majority at the next government meeting on Sunday. He dismissed any compromise, which would include annihilation of ‘only a few communities’ in Gaza. Rather, he proclaimed that ‘no more settlers will live in Gaza by the end of 2005.’ Ditto four communities in the northern Shomron. However, if that’s not enough, Sharon is planning to allow Egyptian security forces to assist Muhammad Dahlan’s attempts to prevent further terror in Gaza AND, (now get this), he’s involving JORDANIAN security forces, as some kind of a security force in the Shomron.
The Jordanians? Where did they come from? Who asked for them? Totally absurd.
Following Sharon’s appearance, MK Shaul Yahalom (NRP) declared, “Sharon’s mad, he feel on his head.” But much more importantly, MK Yechiel Hazan of the Likud responded by saying that if Sharon continues this way, he will no longer be Prime Minister by the end of 2005. “He will have to disengage himself from his chair.” Someone else was quoted as saying, “Sharon’s grandchildren will live in Netzarim.” Knesset speaker Rubi Rivlin said, “When I heard Sharon my heart skipped a beat.”
There are all sorts of rumors predicting Sharon’s next moves. Some say he’ll fire some of his ministers in order to ensure a majority. Others explain that he won’t fire anyone, rather he’ll just add two more ministers to the government, a process some of you might recall as ‘court-packing,’ but in this case, ‘cabinet-packing.’ The latest gem is a plan to pass a new law dissolving the Knesset and bringing about new elections.
The latter because: should Sharon resign, any other Likud Knesset member with 61 Knesset supporters would become Prime Minister. Netanyahu has the 61 votes. And even if Sharon were to create a cabinet victory, it is almost certain that the program would not receive the necessary majority in the Knesset. That, because well over half of the Likud’s 40 MKs reject Sharon’s plans to eradicate the Jewish communities in Gaza and in the northern Shomron. All of them, together with the religious parties, the NRP and that National Union, ensure Sharon’s failure.
We are facing an all-out war: Sharon, and ironically enough, the Israeli left, against Eretz Yisrael. They will stop at nothing – I repeat – N O T H I N G – to achieve success. Just a few days ago a group of reserve soldiers released a letter opposing continued Jewish presence in Netzarim in Gaza. They smeared the righteous, courageous people living there, attempting to prove why they must be evicted from their homes. The letter received major media coverage. Only later was it discovered that the letter was instigated by an aid to former MK Avrum Burg, one of the initiators of the Geneva Accords. It was then reported that the letter caused a major squabble within that particular IDF unit, being that many of its members vehemently disagree with their comrades, who were, it seems, very much a minority.
I have no doubt that Sharon has some more tricks up his sleeve. But there are some things that cannot be fantasized and there are those who cannot be duped. The great fairy tale that Eretz Yisrael must be chopped up and divided amongst our enemies is just that, a fairy tale, having nothing to do with reality. And Am Yisrael, as we saw a few short weeks ago, when 200,000 people rejected Sharon’s ‘disengagement’ from Gaza, will no longer be hoodwinked. Oslo was enough. The lesson has been learned. All of us, in Hebron, Kfar Darom, Shilo and Beit El, Homesh and Kedumim, we are here to stay. And don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
With blessings from Hebron.