Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Amnesty Plan for Fatah operatives on Israel's wanted list

The Amnesty Plan and its goals 1. One of Israel 's gestures towards the Palestinian Authority was the Amnesty Plan for Fatah operatives on Israel 's wanted list, whose implementation began on July 12, 2007 . The plan was designed to reduce the numbers of those involved in terrorism, while encouraging those moderate parties in the Palestinian Authority opposed to Hamas.

2. As part of the Amnesty Plan, Israeli security forces will cease their counter-terrorist activities against some 170 wanted Fatah operatives in Judea and Samaria . This, provided they pledge to abandon the path of terrorism, surrender their arms, and face a series of restrictions during a three-month-long probation period. The Amnesty Plan, which does not include all the wanted operatives in Judea and Samaria , was coordinated with the Palestinian security services in order to facilitate its implementation through persuasion and enforcement.

3. The first group of wanted operatives was made up of Fatah terrorists, who clearly demonstrated their willingness to abandon the path of terrorism. The Israeli security forces indicated that they would later consider extending the amnesty to other terrorist operatives who can prove that their intentions are serious and willingly avoid engaging in or assisting to acts of terrorism. From the very beginning, it was clear that the real test of the Amnesty Plan would be the willingness of those wanted operatives included in it to abide by its conditions, and the willingness (and ability) of the Palestinian security services to enforce their authority on them and ensure the plan's implementation.

Interim summary of the probation period

4. During the probation period since the beginning of the Amnesty Plan's implementation, the Israeli security forces closely monitored the group of wanted operatives included in the plan. The purpose was to ascertain how well they fulfilled the obligations they had taken upon themselves, mainly the pledge to avoid all terrorist activities. The Israeli security forces encouraged the Palestinian Authority, of which Fatah is a major component, to collect the arms held by the wanted operatives and enforce the cessation of involvement in terrorism on those who refused to commit themselves to refrain from such activities.

5. During the first, probation phase, the Palestinian Authority's enforcement achievements were limited. The Palestinian security services gathered arms at a leisurely pace and not from all wanted operatives, including those specified in the Amnesty Plan. However, the plan did create a dynamic that had a positive influence on some of the wanted operatives, some of whom showed self-restraint, particularly in light of the new situation that arose following the Hamas military takeover of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli security forces encouraged that self-restraint, even though they took pains to ensure that all the obligations of the wanted operatives included in the plan were fulfilled.

6. The state of affairs at the end of the probation phase is as follows:

a. Some of the wanted operatives who surrendered their arms and fulfilled all their obligations are now moving on to the second phase, in which they will be granted complete pardon (the case of every wanted operative will be assessed individually, based on the severity of his past actions).

b. Other wanted operatives, who have abandoned the path of terrorism but have not fulfilled all the obligations, are continuing the probation phase.

c. A small part of the wanted operatives who continued or resumed terrorist activities have once again become immediate targets for counter-terrorist operations of the Israeli security forces (counter-terrorism operations have already been carried out against some of them during the probation phase).

d. Other wanted Fatah operatives, who have come to realize the futility of their past terrorist activities, are currently being gradually put into the probation phase, similarly to the first group included in the Amnesty Plan.


7. The Amnesty Plan makes it possible to take numerous terrorist operatives out of the circle of terrorism using a precise, monitored apparatus. The Israeli security forces continue encouraging the Palestinian Authority to move the plan forward, even though its achievements so far have been limited. The reason is that the dynamic created by the plan has a positive influence on the Palestinian street, and might prompt other wanted operatives to abandon the path of terrorism. The implementation of the plan is not dependent upon the progress of the Palestinian Authority buildup, which is still far from demonstrating any enforcement capabilities..

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