Israel informed the Palestinian Authority that it is prepared to discuss the possibility of releasing the fighters who assassinated the Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehavam Ze’evi, in October 17, 2001, Fatah legislator Abdul-Fattah Hamayel said.
Hamayel told Palestinian Legislative Council members on Tuesday that this issue is “on the table”, while Israeli security officials denied the statements of Hamayel saying that if they were released from the Palestinian prison in Jericho, the Israeli army will arrested them.
The PLC held a special meeting in Ramallah to discuss the release of the fighters, who are also held with Gen. Fuad Shobaky, who financed the Karen A weapon shipment.
Several PLC members called for releasing the fighters, including Ahmad Sa’adat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP, who is believed to be the mastermind of the assassination.
Sa’adat, along with four other PFLP members, has been in detention in Jericho for three years.
Sa’adat and the rest of detainees involved in this case were transferred to the Jericho prison in line of agreements reached under US and UK supervision to lift the military siege on the late Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, in his Ramallah headquarters.
Hamayel said that releasing the detainees from Jericho prison is “equal to preparing them to be assassinated by the Israeli army”.
Meanwhile, several Palestinian legislators demanded the P.A make public all details of the agreement arrived between Arafat and American and British enjoys in May 2002.
Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Saeb Erekat, told the legislators that he did not have and idea bout the deal, and added that “only he, who sent them to prison, can release them”.
“Those who have been visiting them in Jericho, promised to work on their release, but they aren’t telling the truth”, Erekat added.
“The deal of their release is still veiled, and surrounded with mystery, no one knows anything about the contents of this mystery”, Erekat said.
Also, Palestinian legislator Daoud al-Zeer, expressed astonishment over the remarks of Erekat, and said that he [Erekat] has been one of the most trusted persons to Arafat.
Meanwhile, Abbas Zaki, a Fateh legislator and member of the Fatah central committee, described the deal to imprison Shobaki and the PLFP member as “suspicious”, and added that the PLC is planning to ask the US and UK for clarifications about the deal.
Most of the legislators noted that a Palestinian court had ordered the release of all the inmates at the Jericho prison – a ruling that has been ignored by the PA leadership.
Some PLC members accused Mohammed Rashid, who was the Financial Advisor of the late president, Arafat, of “standing behind the decision to hold the detainees in Jericho Prison without trial”.