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Friday, July 17, 2009

The transcript of the "plot to assassinate Arafat"

Earlier this week, Fatah Secretary General Farouk Qaddoumi publicly announced that Mahmoud Abbas had colluded with Ariel Sharon (and an American delegation) to assassinate Yasir Arafat in 2003. He claimed to have a transcript of the conversation, sent to him by Arafat himself.

The broadcast of his accusations from Amman caused the PA to shut down Al Jazeera's offices in the West Bank.

The "transcript" itself is not available in any Palestinian Arab newspaper but I found a translation in something called The Faster Times.

The entire thing is absurd - how would Arafat get the transcript and why would he send it to Kaddoumi, his rival from within Fatah? But it is still interesting. Here are some excerpts:

Sharon: I insisted on this meeting before the [Aqaba] Summit so we can finalize all security matters and put the final touches so as not to encounter any confusion or discrepancies in the future.

Dahlan: If you didn’t ask for this meeting, I would have.

Sharon: To begin with, work must begin on killing all the military and political leaders of Hamas, the [Islamic] Jihad, the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine - PFLP] so as to bring about chaos in their ranks, and to allow you to pounce on them easily.

Abu Mazen: In this way, we will inevitably fail. We won’t be able to get rid of them or confront them.

Sharon: So then, what’s your plan?

Dahlan: We told you our plan and informed you of it. And to the Americans [the plans were sent] in writing. We need firstly to have a period of quiet so we can wrest control over all the [Palestinian] security services and all the institutions [of the Palestinian Authority].

Sharon: As long as Arafat is around in the Moqata’ [the Palestinian Authority headquarters] in Ramallah, you will certainly fail. This fox [Arafat] will surprise you as he did in the past. Because he knows what you intend to do. And he will work towards your failure and put inevitable obstacles. He’ll proclaim, as the [Palestinian] street does, that you are being used to do the dirty work of the era.

Dahlan: We’ll see who uses the other.

Sharon: The first step needs to be to kill Arafat by poisoning. I don’t want him exiled, except if there are guarantees from the concerned states that he will be under house arrest. Otherwise Arafat will return to living on a plane [a reference to Arafat's frequent travels before his return to the OPT to drum up support for the Palestinian position internationally.]

...

Dahlan: Without a doubt, there is need for your support of us in the field. I support the killing of Rantisi and Abdalla al Shami because those, if killed, will create confusion and a large vacuum in the ranks of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Because they are the operational leadership.

Sharon: Now you have begun to get it Dahlan.

Dahlan: But not now. It’s necessary for you to withdraw for us from large parts of Gaza so we can have the large excuse, before the people. And when Hamas and the Islamic Jihad violates the ceasefire, you can kill them.

Sharon: And if they don’t violate the ceasefire? Are you going to leave them to organize and prepare operations against us so that we will be surprised that this ceasefire worked against us…?

Dahlan: They can’t be patient during a ceasefire while their organizations are fragmenting. There upon, they will break the ceasefire. After that will be the chance to go after them. Then it’s your grace, Sharon.

The American Delegation: This is a reasonable and logical solution.

I don't know how widely this transcript has been circulated among PalArabs (or even if the author of the article in TFT didn't write it himself!), but if it goes viral, it could widen the split within Fatah greatly. It is detailed enough to be believable to a gullible public, already conditioned to believe conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile, a close aide to Arafat denies these accusations:
Former advisor of late President Yasser Arafat Bassam Abu Sharif, however, denied the accusation that Abbas had any part in an assassination attempt, and called Qaddoumi’s allegations “shocking.” He gave an interview with Al-Jazeera Friday and sent statements to several news outlets decrying the charges.

Speaking from Amman, Abu Sharif claimed to have a second report that proves former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former Israeli Army Minister Shaul Mofaz were the ones who planned the demise of Arafat.

“Who assassinated Arafat is the same one who assassinated the former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin… he is [current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, who governs Israel and he did so by a political game of sabotage and assassinations,” Abu Sharif added without elaborating on the accusation.

The August Fatah summit will be interesting indeed.