Olmert Presses Negotiations With Fatah, Even While Fatah Plots to Assassinate Him
While we are on the subject of negotiating treaties in bad faith, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (photo left) has good reason to look so unhappy. One of Israel's most prominent investigative journalists, Yoav Yitzchak, has reported that the ongoing investigation into Olmert's involvement in a banking scandal is yielding damning evidence of crimes punishable by active jail time. Olmert may well feel that his only recourse is to take the path followed by his predecessor and mentor, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who co-opted the Israeli political left, which controls Israel's criminal justice system, by making unprecedented territorial concessions to the Palestinians in Gaza. That action resulted in the creation of Hamasitan in Gaza.
Too desperate to be deterred by that precedent, Olmert has been pressing forward with negotiations with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (now in power only in Yehuda and Shomron, the so-called "West Bank"), joining with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to promise a Palestinian State and territorial compromises exceeding those offered by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former U.S. President Bill Clinton at Camp David and Taba, and refused by Yasser Arafat, in 2000.
Unfortunately, Fatah is not cooperating. Not only has it demanded even more concessions, including sovereignty over the Temple Mount and the Western Wall [see the Hedgehog Blog, October 12, 2007], but now its terrorist minions are trying to kill Olmert. Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin announced to Olmert's cabinet on Sunday morning that a group of gunmen affiliated with Fatah attempted to hit Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's convoy as it made its way from Jerusalem to Jericho for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on August 6. The assassination plot was thwarted by the Shin Bet and the Palestinian Intelligence Service headed by Tawfik Tirawi. Typical of its past performance in dealing with terrorist suspects, the Palestinian authority arrested three suspects following the incident, and then released them. After a protest by Israeli security forces, they were re-arrested.
That much of the story was confirmed by Tawfik Tirawi and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Sunday afternoon. However, also typically, Fatah spokesman Ahmed Abdul Rahman denied the earlier reports later on Sunday, despite the confirmations from Tirawi and Fayyad, declaring, "I call on all media outlets to disregard the false Israeli version, because there are clear political Israeli interests behind this falsification."
(Showing its usual regard for Palestinian disinformation campaigns, our own Los Angeles Times has yet to carry an online report of the Olmert assassination attempt. Or perhaps it considered a story about Palestinians attempting to murder Israelis to be "dog bites man" and not newsworthy enough to publish.)