Jerusalem – In a surprise announcement at the weekly Israel cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli General Security Services Director Yuval Diskin revealed that Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization planned to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during his meeting with Mr. Abbas in Jericho approximately two months ago.

Due to warnings from Israeli intelligence several days before the summit, Palestinian security troops arrested several members of the cell.

Two of the Fatah terrorists were captured inside Israeli territory.

Mr. Diskin, however, added another surprise announcement, which was that Mr. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority had released the would-be Fatah assassins even though they confessed their intention to assassinate Mr. Olmert.

To make matters worse, the five Fatah operatives suspected of plotting to assassinate Mr. Olmert were members of the elite PA security forces, armed by the US government. These individuals were meant to guard the prime minister’s convoy, according to Israeli security officials.

Mr. Olmert said at the Cabinet meeting on Sunday that Israel would “not look the other way” on a plot by a terrorist cell from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ own Fatah faction to attack his convoy.

Yesterday, the Knesset exploded in a rare unanimity of outrage over the news of the confirmed Fatah plot to kill Mr. Olmert.

National Union Member of Knesset Effi Eitam said: “Olmert must wake up from the empty dream of a moderate partner in the image of Abu Mazen [Abbas].” He said: “While Olmert sits and talks about peace with Abu Mazen, his envoys work on his murder. The real face of Abu Mazen has been revealed, as a puppet without any capability of controlling his people and shamelessly being capable of releasing terrorists who planned to murder his partner in the peace talks.”

The Likud Knesset faction issued a statement that “The attempted assassination of Olmert was an attempted attack on the entire State of Israel and is additional proof of the fact that on the Palestinian side, at this time, there is no partner for peace and that anarchy and terror reign.”

Likud Member of Knesset Yuli Edelstein said: “Beilin and his group’s indulgence of Arafat in the past and Abu Mazen in the present have already exacted an intolerable price. Olmert must immediately cancel the Annapolis conference that the Palestinians view as another stage on the way to his personal destruction in addition to the destruction of Israel.”

Shas, the Sephardic Orthodox party, issued a statement in which it “praises the security services for their effective thwarting operation” and stressed: “We have received more proof that it is incorrect to hold the Annapolis conference as a peace conference, but as an economic conference.” According to Shas, “The feeling of shaky security destroys everything good and with this feeling it is impossible to advance in the peace process. A thousand work places are worth more than a thousand rifles. Places of work will create security, in contrast to rifles that stress the lack of security.”

Kadima, Mr. Olmert’s own party, also called on the Israeli prime minister to stop the negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas.

Kadima Member of Knesset Zeev Elkin called on the prime minister to freeze discussions on gestures to Abu Mazen until the cell members are arrested anew and put on trial. “Anyone who releases those who plan the murder of the prime minister of Israel reveals himself as a supporter of terror and does not deserve any good will gestures,” said Mr. Elkin.

Left-wing Meretz Member of Knesset Ran Cohen said that it was an “unforgivable act. This cell, which tried to assassinate Olmert and was released afterwards by the Palestinians, will continue to act against Israel and its leaders. Anyone who tries to assassinate Olmert wishes to assassinate peace and in the end will also assassinate the Palestinian leadership.”

Labor Party Knesset Member Yoram Marciano said: “The code of conduct has been broken in our relations with the Palestinians. On the one hand we display a strong desire to advance in the peace process, but the Palestinians go two steps backwards.”

At the same time, there were those who doubted the integrity of the Fatah assassination reports.

Israeli pundit Amnon Lord, editor of the Makor Rishon newspaper, wrote that “Since Olmert can no longer deviate from his peace initiatives, which looked promising in connection with relations with the Americans on the one hand, and with the elite on the Left on the other, he creates news events having to do with security arena to defuse the Annapolis conference from the outset. It is no coincidence that, immediately after the first reports GSS Director Yuval Diskin of an attempted assassination of Olmert by Fatah terrorists, the first question that arose was: what will be the fate of the Annapolis conference? … Apparently this was the purpose. Not a mass terror attack, but taking off the shelf events – from several months ago – an attempted assassination of the prime minister by the ‘moderate and peace loving Fatah’ … . What could look more confidence-shaking than this, and what exposes Abu Mazen as an insignificant leader more than this?”

©The Bulletin 2007


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.