Israel has decided to halt negotiations to expand a list of wanted Fatah operatives eligible for amnesty, after a number of members from al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades – Fatah's military wing – refused to sign a document renouncing terror activities, Palestinian sources said Thursday.
Saturday evening, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signed a deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, granting amnesty to 178 wanted terror suspects in exchange for the operatives' signed renunciation of terror and the sale of their weapons to the Palestinian Authority.
The Prime Minister's Office confirmed Sunday that the head of Fatah's military wing in Jenin, Zakariya Zubeidi – responsible for a series of terror attacks against Israeli targets - was on the list.
Weapons returned by al-Aqsa members (Photo: AP)
After many gunmen disarmed, Israel and the PA began negotiations to add another 206 wanted operatives to the amnesty list.
However, in a Monday-evening meeting, Israel said that negotiations on the second list of operatives would be halted until such a time as all of the wanted Fatah operatives signed the agreement to stop terror activities.
Other issues in amnesty negotiationRegardless of this announcement, Israel has also said that it refuses to grant amnesty to 28 gunmen of the 206 on the potential list, because of their ties with Hizbullah. It is possible that the group of 28, as well as other problematic wanted operatives, will be transferred to other cities in the West Bank.
Israel suggested moving some of the problematic wanted operatives abroad for a few years, an option the Palestinians rejected.
The amnesty deal is of great importance to Palestinians in the West Bank, who consider it a turning point in Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plans to eliminate anarchy in the area.
A Palestinian security source told Ynet that the PA is working intensely to convince gunmen to disarm, and hopes to get all Fatah operatives to commit in writing to stop taking part in terror activities.
The security source said that Israeli representatives have emphasized that any Fatah member continuing to participate in terror activities or contact Hizbullah will remain a legitimate target for the IDF and Shin Bet forces.
The two sides are also discussing Palestinian demands that Israel withdraw from Palestinian cities, the source added.