Israel’s television Channel Ten reports that Gershon Mesika, head of the regional council of northern West Bank settlements, is negotiating a deal with the state attorney’s office on corruption charges. Mesika is one of the most prominent settler leaders in using hasbara to legitimise the settlement enterprise on both the local and international levels.Mesika is a leading suspect in a widespread corruption case involving government officials, primarily from the Yisrael Beitenu party, who took bribes in exchange for receiving business from government ministries.
Channel Ten reports the budding agreement will require Mesika to resign from his position as head of the Samaria Regional Council, responsible for all Israeli settlements in the northern West Bank. In exchange, he would receive a “substantial easing” of the charges liable to be pressed against him in the future.
The report adds the Israeli state attorney’s office wishes to create a public effect that would be created with Mesika’s resignation and subsequent testimony on behalf of the state prosecutor, after he admits to the lessened charges.
Mesika was detained and interrogated at the beginning of the year in suspicion of involvement in the widespread corruption case, including provision of bribes in the framework of his position as chairperson of the Central Company for Development of Samaria Ltd.
i northern West Bank settlements. It implements a range of economic projects in the fields of transportation, construction and communications.
Gershon Mesika is a leading figure in the settlement movement’s use of hasbara to legitimise the settlement enterprise on both the international and local levels. He initiated a pro-settlement conference in the EU parliament in September 2013, in which he said ‘the European Union must conduct a piercing soul-searching for its dealings with the Jewish people throughout history in general, and in recent times in particular. The old, bad anti-Semitism is today hidden in the costume of anti-Israelism.”
A delegation of winegrowers and owners of wineries, led Mesika, conducted what they called a “precedent-setting” visit to northern Italy in 2012, where according to the settler-affiliated media outlet Arutz 7 they “succeeded in creating a first frontline of European parliament members, mayors, commerce sections and farmers for breaking the economic boycott of Judea and Samaria and promoting agricultural trade between Samaria and northern Italy.”
On a local level, the Samaria Regional Council began self-described public diplomacy (hasbara) meetings with Israelis at Tel Aviv bars in 2013.
Designated as ‘Samaria on the bar’, these hasbara meetings addressed what the settlers defined as the ‘greatest enemy of settlements: ignorance’.
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