JERUSALEM – Israel today arrested a terrorist from a group of over one hundred gunmen from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah forces who were granted amnesty in July by Prime Minister Olmert.
In a gesture to Abbas’, Olmert granted the amnesty to 178 West Bank-based members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s declared military wing which took responsibility along with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years.
In line with the amnesty agreement, most Brigades terrorists on Olmert’s list pledged their resignation from any so-called paramilitary organizations and were required to disarm, spend a week in a PA holding area and restrict their movements to the area in which they reside for three months. After that, they would be allowed to move freely throughout the West Bank.
Today, the Israeli Defense Forces arrested Brigades member Fadi Al-Kene after he was caught smuggling explosives in the West Bank city of Nablus, or biblical Shechem. Al-Kene was carrying a small pistol at the time of his arrest.
The incident was the latest in a string of violations by the Brigades since the amnesty agreement was signed.
This past Friday, three Israelis, two women and a man, were ambushed by Palestinian gunmen as they were driving between the West Bank Jewish communities of Karnei Shomron and Kidumim. According to Brigades sources, the attack was carried out by Brigades snipers.
The past few weeks, Brigades members, including those in Olmert’s amnesty list, carried out a series of attacks against the IDF, according to Brigades sources. The attacks included shootings and the lobbing of grenades at IDF patrols.
Ayad Frehat, a Brigades leader in the West Bank city of Jenin, told WND last week his group in the West Bank would not disarm or cease attacks on the Jewish state in spite of an amnesty.
“We respect our leaders but will keep fighting until Israel withdraws completely from the West Bank. We are the resistance. We will keep fighting and never give up our weapons until Israel withdraws,” said Frehat.
“Whenever the Israeli army acts in the West Bank, we will fight side-by-side with our brothers from the other resistance movements,” Frehat said.
Last month, WND broke the story how Israel captured an armed Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades member who was smuggling bullets from Jenin to Nablus, but let him go after it was determined he was on a list of wanted gunmen granted amnesty by Olmert.
According to statements by Palestinian officials and reports by the media, most Brigades terrorists on the amnesty list turned in their weapons in line with the deal. But calls to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members who received amnesty yielded a much different story.
Abu Yousuf, a senior leader of the Brigades in Ramallah, told WND most Brigades members turned in one of several pieces of weaponry they possess. He said most Brigades members have two to three guns, including one to two personal weapons and one assault rifle issued by the PA, since the majority of Brigades members are also members of Fatah’s security forces.
“It’s true Brigades members turned in one of their weapons as a symbolic act, but they kept the others,” he said.
Yousuf is suspected of shooting at Israeli forces operating in Ramallah. He carried out a shooting attack in northern Samaria in December 2000 that killed Benyamin Kahane, leader of the nationalist Kahane Chai organization.
Ala Senakreh, overall chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank and one of the terrorists granted amnesty, told WND the one weapon he turned in to the PA is “easily accessible.”
“It’s close by and available to me anytime I need an additional weapon,” he said.
Senakreh said aside from “protecting” himself from Israel, weapons were also needed for protection from rival clans and members of Palestinian families of suspected “Israeli collaborators” killed in recent years by the Brigades.
“We killed several collaborators, so now I am a walking target. What if one of the family members tries to take revenge?” he asked.
Kamal Ranam, chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah, laughing, said he is still armed.
Not all Brigades members even signed their amnesty deals.
Nasser Abu Aziz, the No. 2 leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Senakreh’s main deputy, told WND he will not sign the agreement, calling the deal “an Israeli trick.”
“I am sure this is part of an Israeli conspiracy against our fighters,” Aziz said.
Won’t ‘look with a microscope’
Even though Olmert granted official amnesty to only the 178 terrorists, according to Palestinian officials the Israeli prime minister already has given de facto immunity to the entire Brigades terror group and to all Fatah fighters in the West Bank.
“We were directly told Fatah fighters will not be targeted regardless of official amnesty,” the Palestinian official said, speaking on condition his name be withheld.
One senior Palestinian diplomat close to Abbas said officials from Olmert’s office pledged to Palestinian leaders the Jewish state would not “look with a microscope” at whether Brigades members keep the agreement.
“Olmert’s team told us they will not look into the disarming process with a microscope for single problematic cases. They said they will look at the macro not the micro level. Israel said if some wanted guy was still acting (committing attacks against Israel), they won’t explode everything just for that,” said the diplomat, speaking on condition his name be withheld.
According to Palestinian officials, Olmert is strongly considering offering official amnesty to an additional 206 Brigades gunmen. Also http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57353WND reported last month Olmert is considering allowing the return to Bethlehem of 26 Brigades leaders who were exiled after seizing the city’s Church of the Nativity in 2002. The Nativity church is the believed birthplace of Jesus.
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