(photo credit: www.jerusalemites.org)
Ron Shachner, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's advisor on settlements resigned on Wednesday, stating the disengagement and the evacuation of the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria as the reason for stepping down. Shachner was implicated in a report on illegal outposts drawn up by attorney Talia Sasson and published in March of this year. Sasson found that government ministries and other public bodies had cooperated to fund the illegal outposts, provide land, build housing and public buildings and provide roads, electricity and water. At the time she told reporters that her examination was not aimed at individuals but rather at understanding how the system that built and expanded so many illegal communities worked.
Nevertheless, she pointed the finger at Shachner, saying he had given orders to move mobile homes into illegal outposts, and had written letters declaring that some of the outposts had been approved by the planning authorities even though he knew they were not.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon commissioned Sasson to draw up the report. Sasson served as director of the Department of Special Projects in the State Attorney's office from 1996 to 2004.
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, who later reviewed the report's findings, demanded that Shachner be relieved of his post and submitted several request to Mofaz demanding that Shachner be fired. Mofaz refused to fire Shachner, and tried to redefine his position in the ministry. However on Wednesday, Shachner insisted that his decision to leave had nothing to do with Mazuz's request, but that he felt he was unable to continue working in his current capacity at the ministry, after the government forced settlers out of their homes.