Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Sivan 5762 - June 5, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Palestinians Will Not Release PFLP Head
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The Palestinian cabinet announced late Monday that it would not approve the Palestinian High Court of Justice's decision to release Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Ahmed Saadat from prison in Jericho, where he has been held for the last month under an agreement between the Palestinians, Israel, the US and Britain.

The Palestinian cabinet's announcement expressed "respect for the High Court of Justice's decision" but said its ruling to release Saadat "cannot be implemented under these circumstances because of Israeli threats."

On Monday, the Palestinian court, meeting in Gaza, ordered the release of the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Saadat, saying there was no evidence linking him to last October's murder of Israel tourist minister Rechavam Ze'evi in a Jerusalem hotel.

However, the PFLP had announced that it was responsible for the attack, and the four man squad that murdered Ze'evi are all members of the PFLP.

Along with those four PFLP members convicted by a Palestinian court for the Ze'evi murder, Saadat was imprisoned in a Jericho jail under U.S. and British supervision as part of a deal ending the Israeli siege of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Ramallah headquarters. Israel agreed to concede its demand to arrest the six men in exchange for their incarceration in a Palestinian jail, with US and British warders ensuring they remain imprisoned.

Jerusalem officials said the court ruling violated the understanding. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin, said bluntly, "If he is not brought to justice, we will bring justice to him."

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel will ensure Saadat is not released from jail in Jericho. "We will take all the necessary steps so that it will not be possible to release a person who was involved in murder, who ordered murder, and whose organization carries out murders to this day," Sharon told reporters.

Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said that if the agreement was violated, then Israel would consider itself free of its commitments to the Palestinian Authority and would act according to its own interests.

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said, "We expect the Palestinians will work with the Israelis rather than take unilateral steps."

Also on Monday, construction began on a new Jewish neighborhood in southeastern Jerusalem. Several hundred apartments and a luxury hotel complex are planned for the site in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.

The project is headed by former Jerusalem police chief Aryeh Amit, who told Israel Radio that all the required permits had been obtained well before work began. The land was bought legally by Jews and the development plans were approved many years ago.

Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert dismissed claims by Arab residents of the area that the property is theirs. "If it had been up to me, this neighborhood would have been built long ago," he said.

CIA Director arrived on Monday to discuss revamping the Palestinian security services, consolidating them to make them more effective. Doing so, according to U.S. thinking, will help reduce Palestinian terrorist attacks and pave the way toward diplomatic progress.

Sharon has made clear that Arafat must be sidelined as part of the reforms.

Sharon conveyed this message when he met last Friday with William Burns, the assistant U.S. secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. He repeated the stance again Sunday to the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who was in the region to try to organize a Middle East peace conference in July.

Solana rejected the conditions set by Sharon. Israel "cannot set conditions regarding reforms that Yasser Arafat has to carry out," Solana said.

As part of his much-publicized reforms, Arafat said recently that he wanted to change the composition of the Palestinian Cabinet. He offered Cabinet spots to four terrorist organizations, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but all turned him down. Now it appears that his new Cabinet will look very much like the old one, with a few cosmetic changes.

No date has been set for Palestinian elections. Arafat has refused to give up overall control of the security services, saying that he must serve as interior minister, with a new security commander as his deputy. Arafat also refuses to give up control of Palestinian Authority finances and refuses to appoint a prime minister.

Analysts say that Arafat came under fierce criticism for his willingness to allow six Palestinians to be jailed under British and American supervision in Jericho and to allow the exile of 13 Palestinians from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Now he wants to show Israelis that Operation Defensive Shield, which so deeply humiliated him, has not ended terrorism. He also continues to believe that violence and terror are the most effective means of achieving Palestinian goals.

"The whole idea is to replace the Arafat system of terror, corruption and internal repression, and it's obvious to us that Arafat can't change the system he personifies," says Danny Ayalon, the prime minister's foreign policy adviser and ambassador-designate to Washington.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.