Channel 2: The Fatah terrorists who planned to assassinate Olmert had actually been assigned by Abbas to protect his motorcade.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he will not cancel his participation in the Annapolis conference with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) despite the latter's handling of an Arab attempt to assassinate the Israeli Prime Minister.
Abbas freed from prison the Arab terrorists implicated in the assassination attempt, several weeks after his forces arrested them.
The Shabak (General Security Service) announced Sunday that Fatah terrorists employed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) had planned to assassinate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when he was on his way to Jericho for an August 6 meeting with Abbas.
Israeli intelligence provided the PA with information on the planned assassination and the PA arrested the terrorists. However, a few weeks later, two of the five plotters were nabbed at an Israeli checkpoint, after they had been released from jail by Abbas.
Referring to the release of the terrorists suspected of assassinating him, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the PA's conduct was "a source of discomfort."
"Israel will find the manner in which to express its discomfort on the issue," Olmert said Sunday before leaving Israel for France. "However, [Israel] has no intention of halting negotiations with the Palestinians."
Israeli Channel 2 TV news reported Sunday night that the Fatah terrorists who planned to assassinate Olmert had actually been assigned by Abbas to protect Olmert's motorcade.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Sunday afternoon that the would-be assassins were re-arrested and are back in jail. They were released several weeks ago, he said, allegedly for lack of evidence against them.
However, a spokesman for the Fatah terror group, Ahmed Abdel Rachman, continued to deny that any plot to assassinate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had existed. "This is a false story designed to damage the attempts by the Fatah movement and President Abbas to achieve a just peace between the Israelis and Palestinians," he said Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Knesset members from several factions called upon Olmert to cancel his participation in the planned diplomatic summit at Annapolis, Maryland, following the news of the assassination plot and the way it was handled by Abbas.
MK Tzvi Hendel (NU/NRP) suggested Sunday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert seek professional help. "A prime minister who is willing to negotiate with Abu Mazen, who set free terrorists who tried to murder him, needs to be examined by the best professionals, because this really is not politics but sheer insanity.”
MK Effie Eitam (NU/NRP) said that "Olmert needs to wake up from the dream of a moderate partner in the form of Abu Mazen," and described Mahmoud Abbas as "a puppet with no control over his people and a shameless man who could release the terrorists who planned to murder his peace partner."
MK Ze'ev Elkin (Kadima) said that Abbas has been exposed as a terror enabler and deserves no goodwill gestures. MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said that Abbas's release of the would-be assassins was "a sin added upon a crime" – a phrase which originally appears in the Biblical Book of Job, and means roughly the same as "to add insult to injury."
MK Zevulun Orlev (NU/NRP) said that "The security forces need to capture the terrorists who were released and Olmert must immediately cease contact with Abu Mazen and announce the cancellation of the Annapolis summit, as long as Abu Mazen sponsors terrorists."
MK Aryeh Eldad (NU/NRP) said that both Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) need to thank G-d. "Olmert should say HaGomel [the blessing said after surviving a dangerous situation – ed.]" for being saved from an assassination attempt by Fatah.”
Mahmoud Abbas, Eldad added, should thank G-d for the fact that his partner is Olmert. "Any other prime minister would have long ago cut off negotiations with the head of an organization that was trying to kill him.”
Dichter: Olmert was not in Danger
The plot by Fatah operatives to assassinate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert never posed a real threat to Olmert's life, Minister of Public Security Avi Dichter said Sunday afternoon.
While he admitted that the people involved were not complete amateurs and knew how to use their guns, Dichter said "the most they would have done was to open fire on the motorcade.” Dichter did not relate to the Channel 2 TV report that the PA terrorists/policemen were assigned to protect the Israeli Prime Minister and would have been very close to him.