Investigate PM Disengagement Appintee

Knesset Controls Committee demands full scale investigation of PM Sharon’s appointment of Eival Giladi to coordinate disengagement policies. Cites issues of conflict of interests for an Israeli official who heads up largest Palestinian business development operation. By: David Bedein, Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency On Tuesday; July 26th, 2005, the Knesset Controls Committee met in special session to consider the case of Eival Giladi, the official appointed by the Israeli Prime Minister to coordinate all public policy aspects of disengagement among all the Israeli government offices involved in the process the police, the general secret service, the IDF, The government press office, the „Sela” office for relocation, the Prime Minster’s office and the Foreign Ministry. . The Knesset Controls Committee, whose mandate is to consider accountability in government service and to reportto the Knesset and to the Israel State Comptroller, called into question the Giladi’s conflict of interests that Israel Resource News Agency had first revealed in early July, and which was also picked up by the Makor Rishon newspaper. That conflict of interests rests with the fact that Giladi was named to his role by the Prime Minister of Israel while maintaining his role as the head of the Portland Trust, a British based non profit business development foundation whose role is to raise half a billion dollars to invest in the social and economic development of Gaza, to help Palestinians replace the Jewish community of the Katif district of Gaza after it is to be evicted. When Knesset Controls Committee chairman Dr. Yuri Shtern asked representatives of the Prime Minister’s office as to the basis for appointing Giladi to his position, their only response was that they had received a letter from Gideon Meir, the deputy director of the Information Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated April 4th, 2005, stating that Giladi was „the only man qualified for the job” to coordinate the disengagement information policy for the government of Israel. Giladi was appointed to his position on April 10th, 2005. The PM office could provide no answer as to why his position was not put forward in the framework of a public tender, in order to offer the position to other candidates. The PM office could not explain why it did not go according to the law and ask for special permission to appoint such a senior government official without going through the standard tender process. BPI-info

Dr. Yuri Shtern, MK Uri Ariel and MK Zvulun Orlev, all members of the Knesset Controls Committee, each asked if Giladi had been asked to sign a „conflict of interest” agreement, which would prevent Giladi from entering into any situation where he might be personally benefiting from any government role that Giladi would undertake. The answer: One hour before the Knesset Controls Committee meeting, Giladi signed the proverbial „conflict of interest” agreement. Following that announcement, Ozrad Lev, former financial advisor to the Palestinian Authority and also a former high ranking Israeli intelligence officer, and the author of a seminal book on Arafat’s bank accounts, testified to the Knesset Controls Committee that the appointment of Giladi represented a „built-in” conflict of interest for Giladi, and that „Giladi must choose between Portland Trust and the Israeli government”. Lev mentioned the precedent of Israeli government liaison to the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Yose Ginnosar, who was later hired by PA chairman Yassir Arafat to represent Palestinian Authority business interests. Lev noted that former attorney general Elyakim Rubenstein had ruled that Ginnosar could not perform both roles at once, since the government of Israel was also in negotiation with the Palestinian Authority. The conclusion of the Knesset Controls Committee session was that the committee asked that the Knesset invoke clause 97b of the Knesset State Comptroller act, to order a mandatory Israel State Comptroller investigation into the conflict of interests posed by the PM appointment of Eival Giladi as the coordinator of Israeli government disengagement public information policies, since he is at one and the same time the head of the largest business development foundation for business development in the Palestinian Authority. The Speaker of the Knesset approved of the subject for „quick” consideration in the Knesset plenary of Weds, July 27th, 2005. If the Knesset does authorize a formal investigation of Giladi’s appointment, pressure may be brought to bear on the office of the Prime Minister to suspend Giladi’s position until the investigation can take its course. BPI-info