Apparently when Olmert was meeting with Abbas in Jericho two months ago, some of Abbas’ Fatah operatives were going to kill the Israeli Prime Minister. The assassins were to be assigned to Olmert’s security detail. At first the PA arrested them and let them go—once Israel complained they were rearrested.
Fayad: We rearrested suspects in Olmert assassination plotJPost.com Staff
The Fatah operatives suspected of plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were rearrested last week and are currently being held in custody, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad told Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik during a meeting Sunday afternoon. Fayad said that Olmert was never seriously threatened by the assassination plot, and promised to do his best to rein in West Bank militants. There was nothing “imminently dangerous,” Fayad said as he arrived for the meeting with Itzik. “We are trying the very best we can to bring law and order to the cities, villages and areas that are under our control.” Earlier Sunday, Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin informed the cabinet of the plot to assassinate Olmert during a trip to Jericho to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on August 6. According to Diskin’s report, Israel obtained intelligence on the planned assassination attempt and transferred the details of the plot to the PA, whose security forces promptly arrested three of the suspects. However, security officials said that the suspects were released two months later despite having confessed to their involvement in the plot. However, PA Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Habash rejected the possibility that Fatah planned to assassinate Olmert. Habash made the remarks during a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Shalom Simhon. During their talks, the two also spoke of renewing the agricultural trade channel between Israel and Gaza. Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the peace process must be frozen until all details about the assassination plot are clarified. NU-NRP chairman Zevulun Orlev called for Israel to re-arrest all the Fatah operatives released by the PA security forces. He added that Olmert should cut off all contact with Abbas, who, Orlev said, “protects terrorists.” Orlev also said that Israel should boycott the Annapolis conference, a call echoed by MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud). However, Olmert insisted that Israel would participate in the US-sponsored Middle East parley, Army Radio reported. Nevertheless, referring to the early release of the suspects, 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,” he said before leaving Israel for France. “However, [Israel] has no intention of halting negotiations with the Palestinians.” Likud MK Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio that the narrowly-averted assassination attempt was proof that Abbas can’t control his own Fatah forces, let alone Hamas. “Even assuming goodwill on the part of Abbas… we’ve just seen a red warning light. Don’t delude yourselves – [Abbas] doesn’t control his own forces. This is neither the time nor the place for agreements [with the Palestinians],” Steinitz said shortly after Diskin made his report to the cabinet. However, Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin told Army Radio, despite the report of the planned assassination, Israel could not “be the prisoner of those elements who don’t want the parley to take place.” Beilin said that Diskin’s report to the cabinet should “absolutely not” influence Israel’s plans to participate in the Annapolis meeting.