JERUSALEM – In a sign of growing anti-Israel militancy, terrorists disarmed as part of an amnesty agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel have taken up weapons in violation of the amnesty deal.
The information comes after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry largely blamed Israel for the collapse in Mideast talks he was attempting to broker here.
Israel is considering rescinding the amnesty deal extended to members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the so-called military wing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization.
According to informed Middle Eastern security officials, Israel has extensive information showing scores of Al Aqsa members have been brandishing weapons in public, with some plotting attacks.
The Brigades, declared by the U.S. State Department as an official terrorist group, is responsible for suicide bombings, shootings and other terrorist attacks.
The amnesty agreement was forged in 2007 purportedly as an Israeli gesture to Abbas and to bolster Fatah against its Hamas rivals in the West Bank.
Israel issued documents for the 178 Fatah fugitives to sign, pledging their resignation from any so-called paramilitary organizations. The wanted militants – who comprise much of the senior Brigades leadership – also were required to turn in their weapons, spend a week in a PA holding area and restrict their movements to the area in which they reside for three months.
After that, the Brigades members would be allowed to move freely throughout the West Bank on condition they do not retake arms.
Kerry has been leading an effort to solidify a so-called peace deal in the region.
Last week, Kerry fingered both Israelis and Palestinians for the failure to what is being seen as a collapse in the talks, but he placed much of the blame on Israel.
Kerry claimed Israel’s refusal to release Palestinian prisoners, including convicted terrorists, as part of a gesture to Abbas, was behind the failure of the talks, ignoring Abbas’ refusal to recognize the Jewish state’s existence or his drive to seek United Nations recognition despite a pledge not to do so.
Kerry also did not mention the rampant anti-Israel incitement in official PA media and other institutions.
“Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” Kerry told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations when asked about the collapse of the talks.
“The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof – that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.