Sasson rejects calls to shelve 2005 report on outposts

Meretz-Hatnua Hahadasha candidate: I have come to conclusion that I need to enter politics to make sure my report is implemented.

talia sasson 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
talia sasson 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Attorney Talia Sasson, who wrote a controversial report commissioned by prime minister Ariel Sharon on illegal West Bank outposts in 2005, rejected calls on Sunday from the Right that the government shelve it now that she is running for Knesset with Meretz-Hatnua Hahadasha. "I have come to the conclusion that to influence [events] and to make sure my report is implemented, I need to go into politics and advance its findings," Sasson told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. "As long as Israel controls the territories in Judea and Samaria, it controls the lives of three million Palestinians, deprives them of their basic human rights and denies the Israeli people their right to live in a democratic society," the former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department said. The March 2005 report said that at least 105 illegal outposts had been built and expanded with governmental support. Her report revealed further that the Construction and Housing Ministry had channeled money for expanding the outposts and allocated NIS 71 million to purchase caravans, the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria had allocated Palestinian-owned land for settlements, and the World Zionist Organization's settlement department had established illegal outposts and violated Jordanian law, which still applies to a great extent in the West Bank. Sasson recommended in the report that all activities of entities involved in the buildings of illegal outposts be stopped and that the law be enforced more effectively in the West Bank. When the report was published, Sasson claimed she was apolitical. On Thursday, it was announced that Sasson will be in the No. 7 slot on the joint Meretz and Hatnua Hahadasha candidates list, giving her a realistic chance to make it into the next Knesset, where she said she would work to implement her report's recommendations. Also on Thursday, The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel called to shelve Sasson's report in light of her entrance into left-wing politics. "Following Sasson's coming out of the closet and joining Meretz, we demand the shelving of the report and the appointment of an objective inspector to once again examine the legality of the settlements," the forum said in a statement. "A heavy shadow hovers over the report's reliability, and now more than ever it is clear why it was so severely biased," the statement continued. Sasson said her report was professional and objective. "I wrote the report in the most professional way, and the fact that I chose to go into politics doesn't change this fact," she said. "Even judges have political opinions, but that doesn't change the fact that they do their best to be unbiased and professional while doing their job." Sasson said that after more than three years in which the recommendations had not been implemented by the government she had decided to try to change things from the inside. "Out of fear that the opportunity for a solution of two states for two peoples will slip away from us and Israel will become a binational state where the Jewish people are no longer a majority, I feel the need to try to promote my agenda," she said. "As long as Israel occupies the territories, Israel's democracy is damaged, and our future, our children's education and every aspect of our life is affected. I am a Zionist and the State of Israel was established as a home for the Jewish people who didn't have a place of their own, and I want to make sure we still have a place to call our own many years from now," she said. On Monday, the Meretz Council is scheduled to approve the merger with Hatnua Hahadasha, including the handing over of slots 3, 7, 9 and 12 to Channel 10's Nitzan Horowitz, Sasson, former Labor MK Tzali Reshef and Arab filmmaker Ibtisam Mara'ana, respectively. Meretz is also turning to the Web in search of support. On Friday, the party's chairman, Haim Oron, met in Tel Aviv with some 60 volunteers and asked them to help in attracting new voters via the Internet. Meretz's campaign decided to ask volunteers to write supportive talkbacks, publish articles in their personal blogs and participate in on-line forums, to spread the party's agenda across the cyberspace. "Make sure make to pass on the reasons that you are in Meretz," Oron told the volunteers, aged 16 to 60. "Talk about transparency, social issues. You don't have to repeat the words we are using in the campaign," Oron said. The Internet was today's version of home meetings, Oron said. The party's campaign management said that from time to time the volunteers would receive messages to spread in cyberspace.