Photo: Reuters
Did Sharon cook up Gaza plan to avoid indictment? New book claims so
Photo: Reuters

Probe sought on Gaza plan

New book accuses prime minister of developing Gaza disengagement plan to thwart criminal investigation of financial scandals

A Knesset member has requested the attorney general probe claims made in a newly released book that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon introduced his plan to evacuate Jewish communities from Gaza and parts of the West Bank to divert public attention from criminal investigations that threatened his premiership last year.


National Union Party leader Uri Ariel told World Net Daily that he had sent the letter.


"We know exactly who are the people involved in the scandal, what they did, so there needs to be an immediate investigation," Ariel said.


Ariel was referring to a book released last week by two Israeli journalists charging the Gaza withdrawal plan was created to avoid Sharon's indictment in the Greek Island scandal, an investigation into the transfer to Sharon's family of USD 580,000 by developer David Appel, who was accused of soliciting Sharon's help with business deals.


If Sharon had been charged in the affair, he would have been forced to resign his post as prime minister.


The book's authors, Raviv Drucker of Channel 10 and Ofer Shelah of "Yedioth Ahronoth," claim Sharon was convinced then-State Prosecutor Edna Arbel would indict him in the scandal, and had to create a situation that would make an indictment politically difficult.


They also say the specifics of the disengagement plan were hatched without the input of defense officials, Knesset members or Sharon's own Cabinet, and further charge Sharon asked a top general in the Israeli Defense Forces to be a "plant" and report to him on the goings-on in the general staff.


Drucker and Shelah say they based their findings on first-person accounts from individuals "very close to the prime minister."


In an interview with Israel's Channel Two last week, the two journalists said Sharon's fear of indictment drove him to introduce the withdrawal plan.


"The people who are closest to Sharon told us absolutely that if it wasn't for those police interrogations, this decision (to quit Gaza) would not have been made. This can be seen by the timetable of events," said Shelah in response to a question.


He outlined the charges of the Arbel investigation, a summons to Sharon for police interrogation regarding Appel's money transfer, the reports Arbel was about to indict Sharon, the appointment of Menahem Mazuz as attorney general, and a meeting of what they called the Farm Forum - Sharon, his sons and one or two others very close to the prime minister - at which they claim the Gaza withdrawal was originally hatched.


The Farm Forum "did not state it outright," Drucker said, "but it was in the air that something had to be done, that there had to be some major diplomatic process that would swallow up everything and would change the public agenda (away from the corruption headlines against Sharon) - and they came up with this plan."


Drucker, outlining the book, said top Sharon-aide Dov Weisglass laid the foundations for the disengagement plan in a private meeting with then-White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in December 2003.


Drucker and Shelah charged those in the army and government who could have helped formulate the plan were left out of the decision-making process.


The two journalists go on to claim Sharon asked a top IDF general to be a mole in the army's General Staff Office, but refused to name the official.



In June 2004, after the withdrawal plan had gained considerable momentum, Mazuz announced there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute Sharon.


Both Sharon's and Mazuz's offices could not be reached for comment. It is not immediately clear whether Mazuz will open an investigation into the charges outlined in the book.


Article reprinted from World Net Daily with permission


פרסום ראשון: 06.20.05, 14:02
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