Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Israel won't look closely at whether terrorists disarm


Heck, why concern ourselves with 2 or 20 or 200 terrorists who said they wouldn’t be terrorists any longer but still carry scary guns around and plan assaults on innocent Israelis? Boys will be boys, right?

But G-d forbid one of our “settlers” has a gun! Then they go to jail! After all, they are the dangerous ones, right?


Prime minister granted amnesty in exchange for turning in weapons
Posted: August 8, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein

© 2007

JAFFA, Israel – Officials from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office told Palestinian leaders the Jewish state would not "look with a microscope" at whether terror leaders from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization turned in their weapons in compliance with an amnesty agreement last month, a top Palestinian diplomat told WND.

Part of the amnesty deal required the 178 terrorists – all of whom are members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the declared "military wing" of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization – to disarm and to sign a document stating they would not carry out terror attacks.

WND reported yesterday most members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades granted amnesty by Olmert have not turned in their weapons despite media reports to the contrary, while some haven't even signed their amnesty contracts.

A senior Palestinian diplomat close to Abbas told WND yesterday officials from Olmert's office said they would not closely investigate whether all Brigades members turned in their weapons.

"Olmert's team told us they will not look into the disarming process with a microscope for single problematic cases. They said they will look at the macro not the micro level. Israel said if some wanted guy was still acting (committing attacks against Israel), they won't explode everything just for that," said the diplomat, speaking on condition his name be withheld.

The Al Aqsa Brigades took responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years. Statistically, the Brigades carried out more anti-Israel terror attacks emanating from the West Bank since 2005 than any other group, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Last month, Olmert granted amnesty to a list of 178 Fatah militants WND reported comprise most of the senior leadership of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Olmert's office issued documents for the Fatah fugitives to sign, pledging their resignation from any so-called paramilitary organizations and promising to refrain from terrorism.

The wanted militants also were required to turn in their weapons, spend a week in a PA holding area and restrict their movements to the area in which they reside for three months. After a three-month period, they would be allowed to move freely throughout the West Bank. Since most wanted militants have been confined to their residential areas the past few years anyway due to the threat of Israeli operations, the deal effectively grants them freedom of movement for the first time.

In exchange, Israel will not conduct anti-terror operations to capture the wanted militants.

According to statements by Palestinian officials and reports by the media, most terrorists turned in their weapons in line with the deal.

A widely circulated AP article yesterday quoted a senior Palestinian security official stating "all but three Al Aqsa members have surrendered their weapons and sworn off violence, as part of the arrangement."

But calls Monday to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members who received amnesty yielded a much different story.

Abu Yousuf, a senior leader of the Brigades in Ramallah, told WND most Brigades members turned in one of several pieces of weaponry they possess. He said most Brigades members have two to three guns, including one to two personal weapons and one assault rifle issued by the PA, since the majority of Brigades members are also members of Fatah's security forces.

"It's true Brigades members turned in one of their weapons as a symbolic act, but they kept the others," he said.

Yousuf is suspected of shooting at Israeli forces operating in Ramallah. He carried out a shooting attack in northern Samaria in December 2000 that killed Benyamin Kahane, leader of the nationalist Kahane Chai organization.

Ala Senakreh, overall chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank and one of the terrorists granted amnesty, told WND the one weapon he turned in to the PA is "easily accessible."

"It's close by and available to me anytime I need an additional weapon," he said.

Senakreh said aside from "protecting" himself from Israel, weapons were also needed for protection from rival clans and members of Palestinian families of suspected "Israeli collaborators" killed in recent years by the Brigades.

"We killed several collaborators, so now I am a walking target. What if one of the family members tries to take revenge?" he asked.

Senakreh's cell, along with the Islamic Jihad terror group, is suspected of directing all suicide bombings in Israel in 2005 and 2006.

Kamal Ranam, chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah, laughing, said he is still armed.

Not all Brigades members even signed their amnesty deals.

Nasser Abu Aziz, the No. 2 leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Senakreh's main deputy, told WND he will not sign the agreement, calling the deal "an Israeli trick."

"I am sure this is part of an Israeli conspiracy against our fighters," Aziz said.

The Brigades' failure to keep their side of the amnesty deal is well-known to the Israeli security apparatus. Members of the Israel Defense Forces military intelligence unit said they complained to Olmert's office in recent days, explaining most of the Brigades members did not disarm.

But according to senior Palestinian officials, Olmert officials said the prime minister would strongly consider granting amnesty to 206 more Fatah gunmen, mostly Brigades members, who haven't yet officially received amnesty. Some of the 206 are senior Brigades commanders, but most are mid-level militants.

Asked to confirm the report, David Baker, an Olmert spokesman, did not reply with an answer as of press time.

Israeli diplomatic officials said amnesty wasn't yet granted to some of the 206 militants because of the militants' connections to the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. But seven senior terrorists granted amnesty by Olmert last month previously told WND on the record they serve as conduits for their terror group's relationship with Hezbollah, and, according to Israeli security officials, the most important Brigades leaders who serve as Hezbollah conduits already received amnesty.

Olmert grants entire terror group de facto immunity

Regardless of whether Olmert grants amnesty to the remaining 206 militants, according to Palestinian officials the Israeli prime minister already has given de facto immunity to the entire Brigades terror group and to all Fatah fighters in the West Bank.

"We were directly told Fatah fighters will not be targeted regardless of official amnesty," the Palestinian official said, speaking on condition his name be withheld.

Olmert Monday held a historic meeting with Abbas in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank town of Jericho. The meeting marked the first time an Israeli prime minister has visited PA areas since the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000. The meeting took place under heavy security.

Olmert told Abbas he would push for the establishment of a Palestinian state as "fast as possible."

"We have decided to expand the scope of the negotiations between us in order to advance mutual understanding and formulate the framework that will allow us to move forward toward establishing a Palestinian state," Olmert said.

The statements came in spite of grave concern from the Israeli security establishment that the Hamas terror group will soon attempt to take over the West Bank as it did in Gaza in June. A number of Hamas officials pledged in recent interviews their group would stage a coup in Gaza.

According to Israel's Haaretz daily, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad reportedly warned senior Israeli officials during recent meetings that Fatah security organizations are unable to assume control of cities in the West Bank. Fayad reportedly said that Abbas' security forces are unable "to impose law and order in the West Bank at this time."

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