Israeli government plans to attend the upcoming Middle East conference in Annapolis Maryland next month have been complicated considerably by release reports that Palestinian Fatah gunmen had plotted to attack Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convoy during his meeting with P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas (photo) in Jericho last August. The disclosure, only released now, stated that members on the Palestinian Police force had planned to attack Olmert’s convoy when it approached the historic West Bank City for the first visit by an Israeli Prime Minister to a Palestinian controlled city.
The report, given by Shin Bet security head Yuval Diskin, contained information that several Palestinian gunmen belonging to Fatah, the Palestinian political organization, had made intensive plans to carry out the operation, and had conducted extensive surveillance operations on the route that the motorcade was going to take, once it entered Palestinian controlled territory. Although several suspects had been detained by P.A. police authorities, most have been released, further dampening relations between Israel and the P.A. The release of prime suspects in this affair, which was alleged to have been cancelled at the last moment, makes government officials wondering about the sincerity of Abbas’s government in entering into any kind of agreement with Israel.
“Israel will not ignore this attempt and look the other way” Olmert was reported to have said. Members of Olmert’s cabinet as well as numerous officials are new saying that with this in mind, the Israeli government should call off it’s participation in the meeting, scheduled to take place in only two week’s time. Israel Foreign Minister Zippy Livni was quoted as saying that the Palestinians had returned to a “revolving door policy in which they say something and do something entirely different altogether.
In addition, many Knesset members have told the Prime Minister that not only should Israel not sent a delegation to the conference, but should seriously reassess Israel’s relationship with Mahmoud Abbas and his government. Members of Olmert’s Kadima political party, including MK Zvi Elkin should halt all meetings with Abbas, and cease any cooperation with P.A. police and other government authorities until those suspects who were released from custody are re-arrested.
Olmert, who had only returned before the weekend from his brief meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and who is currently under police investigation for a number of “legal issues”, must now come to grips with an assassination attempt by members of Mahmoud Abbas’ own civil administration. Right winged Knesset members, especially those like National Union Chairman Effie Etam and National Religious Party Chairman Zvulun Orlev are demanding that Olmert sever relations with the P.A. altogether. Both men also said that Olmert should recite a special prayer of thanksgiving for being saved from possible assassination. National Union party member Ariyeh Eldad even went one step further by suggesting a prayer be said to rid the country of Ehud Olmert’s leadership as a result of his dealings with the Palestinians.
Whether the Prime Minister will heed this advice is anyone’s guess. But in any event, these disclosures have cooled the “atmosphere” considerably between Israeli and Palestinian officials. And down in Hamas controlled Gaza, Hamas leader and former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, must be enjoying these sudden turn in events.
Leave a Reply