debkafile Exclusive: Olmert secretly agreed to free 150 jailed Palestinians when he met Palestinian leader Abbas Saturday night – without the relea
Our sources report that the Israeli prime minister is casting about for ways to rush the promised concession through the government ahead of the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007. The step is likely to face substantial opposition from ministers and the public.
DEBKA counter-terror sources disclose that the bulk of the 150 prisoners agreed upon are Fatah loyalists of the Palestinian leader, plus a few terrorists belonging to the Democratic Front and other small groups.
The main two problems with this deal is that Abbas cannot promise any help to free Gilad Shalit from Hamas hands in the middle of their factional war, and Olmert cannot pretend that any gesture of support for Abbas will.
Furthermore, Israeli military and intelligence chiefs say that nothing will avail Abbas. Therefore, any concessions in his favor will do not good and are just exercises in public relations for external and internal consumption.
Finally, the automatic guns and ammunition which Israel made available to support Abbas’ Palestinian Authority forces are likely to reach the wrong hands. Sunday, Dec. 24, Israeli intelligence discovered that Abbas’ lieutenant Muhammad Dahlan, who took charge of the arms, is in Gaza working on a deal for the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Army group to join forces with Fatah against Hamas. The Islamic Army, headed by Zakaria Durmush, was part of the terrorist team which kidnapped Shalit six months ago and is an active participant in the daily Qassam missile barrage against Israel.