Avi Dichter, a top Likud politician and former head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), last month made a startling revelation that speaks to a lack of commitment to genuine peace by the Palestinian leadership from the very beginning of the so-called “Oslo” peace process.
During an interview as part of a conference hosted by the Zionist organizations Im Tirtzu and Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights, Dichter recalled how a mere two months after the signing of the “Oslo Accords” and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, its “president,” Yasser Arafat, was caught smuggling four highly-wanted terrorists into the Gaza Strip.
As a high-ranking officer in the Shin Bet at the time, Dicther said that he received a frantic phone call from his agent monitoring the Gaza-Egypt border informing him that Arafat, who was returning from meetings in Egypt, looked somehow taller.
Arafat was riding in a convoy of Mercedes vehicles, and was sitting much higher than everyone else in the car. But, under the terms of the recently-signed Oslo Accords, Israel could not stop the convoy and inspect the vehicles without clear evidence of wrongdoing.
Israel ended up quickly getting that evidence and stopped the convoy after it was already in Gaza. Indeed, as Dichter tells, Arafat was smuggling four arch-terrorists into the Gaza Strip. Three of the criminals were hiding in the trunks of the vehicles, while the fourth, Jihad al-Amarin, was lying flat on the back seat and Arafat was sitting on top of him!
Then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin gave Arafat an ultimatum–send the four terrorists back to Egypt within 48 hours, or Israel would freeze the nascent land-for-peace process.
What really bothered Dicther was how casually Arafat dismissed the entire affair: “He said, ‘So, we made a mistake,’ as if this was an inconsequential thing that the president of the PA smuggled arch-terrorists in his own car.”
In conclusion, Dichter, a man more familiar with the intricacies of the peace process than most, was adamant that “whoever argues about who’s to blame for the failure of the Oslo Accords needs to understand that the PA is 100% to blame, without a shadow of a doubt.”