On Thursday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's personal attorney Dov Weisglass announced a major policy initiative during a speech at Tel Aviv University. Weisglass said that after the completion of the expulsion of 10,000 Israelis from their villages in Gaza and northern Samaria this summer, Israel will expel still more citizens from their homes by destroying the so-called "unauthorized communities" in Judea and the rest of Samaria.
This statement is remarkable for two reasons. First, it totally contradicts the statements Weisglass made last year to Haaretz newspaper according to which the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria would be Israel's last withdrawal for years. Specifically, Weisglass said then that after the planned pullout goes through, "there will be no timetable to implement the settlers' nightmare [of further expulsions from additional communities]. I have postponed that nightmare indefinitely. Because what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns."
So that was a lie, or perhaps he is lying now. At any rate, Weisglass's statement Thursday proves incontrovertibly that he has no personal credibility.
The second reason that Weisglass's statement is remarkable is that this major policy announcement came seemingly out of thin air. There has been no debate regarding the destruction of these communities in the government in recent weeks. There has been no public advocacy for the move by Sharon or Weisglass. There has been no report of staff work being assigned to the IDF or to members of the civil service to weigh the advantages or disadvantages of the announced plan, and of course, the announcement comes with no mention of what will result from such a move.
In testimony before the Israeli Knesset's State Comptroller's Committee on Monday, Sharon was grilled by committee members on the staff work which preceded his decision to withdraw from Gaza and northern Samaria. Parliamentarian Yuri Shtern attempted to find out what policy options the plan was weighed against and what the strategic purpose of the plan is supposed to be. Other committee members requested that Sharon describe the staff work regarding the strengthening of communities in Judea and Samaria and plans for resettlement of the Israelis now scheduled for expulsion.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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