debkafile: The daylong Jericho siege staged by the IDF closed one chapter and opened another

Hamas which was elected to lead the next Palestinian government appeared overwhelmed by the action to take charge of PFLP leader Ahmed Sadaat in Jericho prison, who ordered the murder of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi four years ago. IDF commandos struck minutes after the British and American monitors of the prison moved out and it was feared that six high-profile terrorist prisoners, led by Sadaat, would soon be on the loose.
With Fatah leader, the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, out of the country in Vienna, the fiery Islamist group failed to bring Palestinian protesters out on the streets or obstruct the Israelis either by military or diplomatic means.
From a safe distance in Saudi Arabia, politburo chief Khaled Meshaal egged Sadaat on to make a stand and be a martyr. The PFLP chief thought otherwise and turned himself in to the Israeli force before his cell walls crashed around him.
This inept response may be a pointer to the shape of the Palestinian government to come.
The PFLP have sworn to avenge the handover of their leader into Israeli hands, where he will be a lot less comfortable than he was in his palatial suite in the Palestinian jail. They are linking Israel, the UK and US, in suspected collusion. Security has been redoubled for high Israeli officials and foreign missions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The series of abductions in the Gaza Strip may be just the beginning.
Finally, most political experts link the successful IDF operation with the date – two weeks to Israel’s general election, and without doubt a valuable boost for the prospects of acting prime minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party.

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