Monday, July 16, 2007

About that agreement with Al Aqsa Brigades...

Over the weekend the news has trumpeted that Abbas agreed with the Al Aqsa Brigades that they would put down their weapons in exchange for Israeli guarantees not to arrest 189 wanted terrorists in the West Bank.

If it makes things temporarily more peaceful, it is clear that the reason that some terrorists agreed to this deal is because Israel has been arresting hundreds of Fatah members in the West Bank in recent months. In other words, this is not a result of Israel's bolstering Abbas alone - Al Aqsa has no incentive to disarm while Israel showers their faction leader Abbas with concessions. However tenuous this deal is, it is proof that Israeli offensive actions forced them to mouth some peaceful words. For the leftists who regard this as great news, it was Israeli military actions that caused this deal.

But there is ample reason to be skeptical. The deal is not only that they hand in their weapons - they are receiving cash for their weapons, and they are getting offered paid jobs (thanks to Israel's tax revenue largesse.) It also appears that the deal is not nearly as expansive as the media will have you believe.

(Hamas-oriented) Palestine Today reports that many members of Al Aqsa (the ones not on the list, presumably) did not sign onto this deal (autotranslated):
Said Nasser Abu Aziz, one of the leaders of the Al Aqsa Brigades in the city of Nablus territories and called for "Israel" that the Al Aqsa Brigades refuse to sign the agreement "wanted" reached by the Palestinian and Israeli sides, adding that such a step would distinguish between resistance rifles.

Abul Aziz said in press statements of Palestine today morning today, Monday, a "wanted" incomplete and fragmented others, saying : "This agreement is incomplete and imposed on the Palestinian people in the Al Aqsa Brigades We decided that the following alleged agreement must include all hounded in the occupied West Bank and Gaza and not to be a point in the Sea fragment brotherhood between militants and weapons of the resistance and fragment between the faction and the sons of the resistance one.

His commander in the Al Aqsa Brigades, said : "We reject signing of those documents and others incomplete differentiate between guns fighter hounded each other we will sign only if one is the lack of prosecution and sweeps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the indivisibility file hounded.
The PalArab IMEMC is even more explicit about the deal, saying that it was only with the 189 "fighters" and not with Al Aqsa as a whole:
In exchange for being taken off Israel's 'wanted' list, 189 Palestinian fighters with the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh, have agreed to stop attacking Israeli targets -- even military targets that are invading their homes.

Israeli authorities have agreed to remove the mens' names from the list if they do not leave the West Bank for three months, and do not engage in any resistance activities for three months.

The founder of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, Marwan Barghouthi, was not included in the list. He remains in an Israeli prison, serving several life sentences. The 189 fighters agreed to the pledge without consulting Barghouthi, and without demanding his release.
In this context, the deal really doesn't mean much.