Photo: Amir Cohen
Photo: AFP
Abbas. Furious
Photo: AFP
Haniyeh. In crosshairs
Photo: AFP

Abbas to Haniyeh: Israel may assassinate you

Palestinian president warns Palestinian prime minister Israel may hurt him, other Hamas ministers if crisis around Israeli soldier's abduction is not resolved soon, al-Hayat newspaper reports; Palestinian security sources believe Israel will prefer to target senior Hamas members in Damascus

Hamas leaders warned: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday during his meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh that Israel will attempt to assassinate Haniyeh, as well as Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar and Interior Minister Said Siam, if the crisis around the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is not resolved soon, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Tuesday.


According to the report, Abbas was very furious during the brief meeting, which lasted about 15 minutes and was very tense.



In spite of this report, Palestinian security organizations believe that Israel is not interested in hurting Haniyeh as he is a central figure in Hamas' moderate wing, being aware of the differences between him and the group's politburo chief Khaled Mashaal.


However, the Palestinian security sources were not surprised by the fact that the names of Interior Minister Siam and Foreign Minister al-Zahar, as they are both closer in their views to those of Mashaal.


Simultaneously, Abbas held a series of security meetings Monday and ordered the Interior Ministry and commanders of the organizations to search for the soldiers, alongside intensive talks held with Arab and international elements.


Meanwhile, it appears that the kidnapping is causing a rift also inside Hamas, after the organization's military wing claimed responsibility for the abduction.


According to the report, key sources in Hamas are calling not only to withdraw from the Palestinian government and return to "resistance," but also to "destroy the house and all its inhabitants" in response to the isolation of the Palestinian government, and the return to a situation which prevailed before the Oslo Agreements and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.


Al-Hayat added that senior Hamas ministers are unsatisfied with the situation created following the abduction, as it has ruined month-long efforts exerted in a bid to end the international siege on the government.


'Soldier did not intend to hand out candy'


While Israelis fear the fate of the abducted soldier, there are those in the Arab world who view things differently. For example, the editor of the well-known London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, Abdelbari Atuan, explained in an editorial why the operation of killing soldiers and abducting a soldier in Kerem Shalom was "resistance" and why there is no room for mediators.


"The issue of the Israeli soldier's abduction by resistance men the day before yesterday has become a global story, with the Arab governments competing against each other even before the western governments, demanding that he be released immediately, as if he was an innocent infant who lost his way in the Palestinian territories," wrote Atuan, who is not among Israel's supporters, in a column titled "This is resistance – there is no room for mediators."


"Those who demand that the soldier be released are forgetting that he was inside an Israeli tank and planned to invade Rafah and kill dozens of its sons, or that he was not on a humane mission of handing out candy to its children.


"The Israeli forces burst into the city only two days ago and kidnapped two whom they referred to as Hamas members. We did not hear one cry of protest from any western government following these Israeli official pirated actions, which were carried out in broad daylight," Atuan added.


Such remarks, showing complete understanding to the "resistance operation," are being heard in many Arab media outlets since the abduction took place.


Ali Waked contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 06.27.06, 11:05
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