Daily Israel Report

PA Sources: Terrorists Liable to Lose Amnesty

The 178 wanted terrorists Israel has stopped pursing are again threatening to murder Jews -all because Israel refuses to stop pursuing another 206.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 8/2/2007, 1:24 PM

The 178 wanted terrorists Israel has stopped pursing are again threatening to murder Jews - all because Israel refuses to stop pursuing another 206.

A "senior Palestinian Authority military source" has said that the recent agreement regarding wanted Fatah terrorists between the PA and Israel is "in danger."  This, because Israel refuses to consider expanding the deal before the existing aspects take full effect.

The agreement in question was finalized less than three weeks ago, when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to grant conditional amnesty to 178 wanted Fatah terrorists in exchange for their promise to stop terrorism.  If, after their promise, they in fact refrain from terrorism for three months, their names are to be taken permanently off the "wanted" list.  Among the terrorists entitled to make this deal are Zekarya Zubeidi, long wanted for his terrorist activity against Israel, as well as almost the entire senior leadership of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group - the organization that has claimed responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel over the past three years.

Now, however, after Israel has rejected a PA request to add another 206 wanted terrorists' names to the list, the terrorists threaten to cancel the entire deal.  So reports a high-placed PA military figure to Ynet.

Israel explained that it cannot consider expanding the agreement while about half of the terrorists originally offered amnesty have still not deigned to return their weapons, as demanded by the agreement. 

The PA source explained that the terrorists are concerned that giving up their guns might leave them defenseless against other Arabs they have attacked in the past.  In addition, they would like a full return on the money they paid for the weapons.  It was originally reported that the PA had earmarked tens of thousands of shekels for each gun returned, but apparently this is not sufficient.

"There is no doubt that the wanted-terrorists agreement is liable to collapse, and other security understandings with it," the source said.

The purpose of the agreement, from Prime Minister Olmert's standpoint, was to "strengthen" PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas in retaining popular support and in his struggle against Hamas.  Many Israelis do not accept this strategy, however.  Cabinet Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, for instance, said, "You can't strengthen someone who is a zero.  Abbas has done nothing to deserve these gestures. Has he arrested wanted terrorists, or collected weapons, or fought terrorism? A zero always remains a zero."