View Full Version : 2 Ministers Say Sharon Will Have to Resign if Indicted

01-25-2004, 07:03 PM

2 Ministers Say Sharon Will Have to Resign if Indicted
By Greg Myre
The New York Times

Thursday 22 January 2004

JERUSALEM, Jan. 22 Two Israeli cabinet ministers said today that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would have to resign if an influence-buying investigation eventually led to his indictment.

Mr. Sharon continued to swat that possibility aside, declaring that he would serve "at least until 2007," when elections are scheduled.

As the conflict with the Palestinians abruptly slipped to the sidelines of Israeli political debate, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 12-year-old Palestinian boy playing near the boundary fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, his family and hospital officials said.

The Israeli Army said it could not confirm the killing. It said that soldiers had opened fire on a group of people seen approaching Gaza's fence with a ladder, and that they had wounded two boys. Israeli paramedics treated the casualties on the spot and then took them to an Israeli hospital, the army said. The youths were unarmed.

An Israeli court on Wednesday indicted a real estate developer on charges of paying roughly $700,000 to Mr. Sharon's son, Gilad, in hopes of bribing the prime minister.

The indictment said the developer, David Appel, told Ariel Sharon that his son was expected to make a lot of money, but it did not lay out evidence that the prime minister knowingly took a bribe.

Justice officials are looking into whether there is sufficient cause to indict Mr. Sharon and his son, and it is likely to be weeks or even months before they reach a decision. Mr. Sharon's two predecessors as prime minister, Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu, served under threat of possible indictments that never materialized.

Both previous prime ministers were clearly distracted and sapped politically by the long-running investigations.

When he arrived in Tel Aviv today to address young members of his faction, Likud, Mr. Sharon took sarcastic note of the mass of journalists present. "I am glad the press is showing so much interest in the young Likud members," he said, before declaring he would serve out his term.

"We have set intricate goals, which I intend to fully accomplish," he said. "And to the media: Thank you."

Polling suggests that Mr. Sharon's personal credibility is shaky. Yet the suspicions of bribery did not come as news to the Israeli public. For months the Israeli news media have carried reports of the investigation into whether Mr. Appel beginning in the late 1990's when Mr. Sharon was foreign minister had sought to buy Mr. Sharon's help in an unsuccessful plan to build a casino and resort on a Greek island.

For proposed payments totaling $3 million, Mr. Appel hired Gilad Sharon to promote the casino plan, though, in the indictment's words, the prime minister's son "did not have the relevant professional skills."

For some time, jockeying has been under way within Likud to eventually succeed Ariel Sharon. Political analysts now expect that to intensify. Mr. Sharon's fellow Likud leaders have been notably silent since the indictment was announced.

One exception was Limor Livnat, the minister of education, who told Israeli television this evening that Mr. Sharon "will have to resign" if indicted.

"If an indictment will be served I hope it will not happen but if an incitement will be served against the prime minister, there is no doubt that he will not be able to continue holding on to his position," she said.

Earlier, Avraham Poraz, the minister of interior and a leader of the Shinui faction, which promotes itself in part as pursuing clean government, also said an indictment would force Mr. Sharon to resign.

In fact, the political and legal limits on governing Israel under indictment are untested. In cases involving a cabinet minister and a deputy minister, Israel's Supreme Court has twice ruled that an indictment on charges reflecting moral lapses compelled resignation.

"It's not written in the law, but it's a precedent, a binding precedent, of the Israeli Supreme Court," said Moshe Negbi, a legal commentator for Israeli radio who teaches public and constitutional law at Hebrew University.

But Miriam Gur-Arye, a professor of criminal law at Hebrew University, said the high court might treat a prime minister as being in a different category, since his resignation could bring down a government.

She said that before indicting Mr. Sharon, justice officials would have to ask the Israeli parliament to strip him of his immunity to prosecution. Members of parliament have traditionally been reluctant to approve such requests, perhaps fearful that their own immunity might someday be put to a vote.

The decision whether or not to indict and therefore, possibly, to dismiss the prime minister will be up to one person, Israel's attorney general. By coincidence, the Israeli government is scheduled to vote on Sunday on a new attorney general, choosing among three candidates put forward by a public committee.

In Gaza this morning, Mohsan al-Daour, 12, was playing with two friends near the boundary fence when he was shot and killed, according to his father, Haider al-Daour. Another relative said the boys were hunting birds.

Hospital officials said that the boy was shot in the back.

A spokesman for the Israeli Army said soldiers in that area, on the Israeli side of the fence, spotted a group of at least seven Palestinians approaching the boundary with a ladder, within a strip that the army calls off-limits to Palestinians. The spokesman said that in that spot, Palestinians often try to infiltrate Israel to plant bombs or to attack nearby Israeli communities. He also said terrorists sometimes dispatch children to test Israeli defenses.

He said that because the group was within about 80 feet of the fence, the soldiers opened fire rather than first shout a warning or fire warning shots. He said that they aimed low, to wound not to kill, and that they struck two of the Palestinians.

The soldiers and paramedics did not see anyone else who was hit, he said, and the army did not receive reports of the dead child until hours later.


01-25-2004, 07:23 PM
If we can get rid of Bush and Sharon at the same time, 2/3 of the middle east problem is solved. Did the Palestinians ever hire a new Prime Minister? Maybe we can make some serious progress in the Middle East a year from now when PNAC is evicted from Washington DC.

01-25-2004, 09:25 PM
Quit spamming the board, Cock, or I'll freep this board so much it'll make your head spin. :gulp:

01-25-2004, 09:54 PM

What is that?:)

01-25-2004, 10:14 PM
Originally posted by Seshmeister

What is that?:)

Put up useless, left-hating wannabe stories from FreeRepublic.com, an ultra-conservative website.

The DemocraticUndergroud.com, Commondreams.org, Truthout.org, and MoveOn.org is for the lunatic fringe on the left while Free Republic is for the lunatic on the right, among others. All these sights will make one power puke.......

01-25-2004, 10:39 PM
I wonder if at those sites they quote Dave Lee Roth forums as being the lunatic fringe...:)

01-26-2004, 10:19 AM
Originally posted by Seshmeister
I wonder if at those sites they quote Dave Lee Roth forums as being the lunatic fringe...:)

No, only VHLinks says we're the lunatic fringe. That from some Hagar fans. Go figure. :gulp:

01-26-2004, 12:49 PM
Israel is in my opinion. Is probably one of the few places in the world that would have been better off staying colonialized by the UK.