What does "in hand" mean, exactly? It's not as simple as it sounds, according to an innovation of the attorney general, for whom Ariel Sharon is always right. The same person whose associates lately explained that in a conversation between Sharon and David Appel in which "the Greek island is in our hands," it was just that, nothing serious, also wrote that even if the law says that a minister's term ends 48 hours after a dismissal letter has been handed to him, it doesn't really have to be in the minister's hand.
That's the strange opinion that the attorney general produced in the case of firing "Minister Benny Elon." The legislature chose to require the fired minister be handed the letter and to ignore any attempts to evade it. But according to Menny Mazuz, all it took was for Elon to take evasive action once he knew about the decision to fire him and that the letter was sent.
For a police ticket, as any driver knows, there are two alternatives to handing over the ticket - by hand or attached to the windshield. In the Basic Law on the Government, there is no ticket attached to the limousine's windshield, nor an email, fax or homing pigeon. Mazuz's decision says something about him as well as Sharon. The top law enforcement officer in the country, who is supposed to decide whether to accept recommendations from the State Prosecutor and is examining dozens of cases of bribery, fraud and breach of trust to learn precedents in the law, has now leaped to the prime minister's cause in another of his functions as attorney general. The new Sharon, pushing for evacuation of Gaza, no matter what, is the old Sharon from Lebanon, who will use any means to achieve his goals.
It's not only June 6, the date common to both the Lebanon war and the government's decision this week. In 1982, as well, against the background of the evacuation of Yamit, the extreme right of the Likud, Tehiya, the precursor to the National Union, broke away from the mother party. Then, too, a Sharon - and Menachem Begin - initiative failed in a vote and waited for another chance. Then, too, there were contacts with Shimon Peres about joining the government. Then, too, an ambiguous decision was drafted, which laid the groundwork for what would come later, reaching Beirut. Then, too, Article 22 (b) of the Basic Law on the Government was applied, albeit with different language, to bypass the Kahan Commission's ruling deposing Sharon from the Defense Ministry but not from the entire government.
Sharon is a one-man engineering corps, both a builder and a bomber. The supporters of settlement evacuation are now ready to turn a blind eye to his methods. From their perspective, his trampling ways are aimed in the direction they want, like a nightmare in negative, as if Dr. Frankenstein's golem started out bad and turned good.
Keeping Sharon prime minister is not the attorney general's affair and does not reflect the "will of the voter" but rather the will of the elected. Two out of three of the voters to the Knesset did not choose the list headed by Sharon. The coalition headed by him was the result of a deal between elected officials. Maintaining that deal or changing it is the Knesset's business. It can also decide not to respond to the attorney general's request to strip any of its members - including the prime minister - of their immunity. David Ben-Gurion argued that "ministers should not be judges." The attorney general, whose decision about whether to prosecute Sharon will be quasi-judicial, might breach that prohibition from the opposite direction, a judge acting as member of government.
"Equality is basic value for every democratic society," according to Supreme court President Justice Aharon Barak, who was a member of the Kahan Commission. "Equality protects the government from becoming arbitrary. There is nothing more destructive to a society than the feeling of its sons and daughters that they are being treated unfairly." For Mazuz, Sharon is worth more.
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