Did Abbas, Dahlan conspire to murder Arafat?
Kaddumi disclosed that Arafat had confided to him the transcript of a secret meeting involving Abbas, Dahlan , US intelligence officials as well as former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The meeting allegedly took place in March 22, 2004.
According to the document, whose authenticity couldn’t be verified independently, Sharon told Abbas and Dahlan during the meeting that Arafat should be killed by way of poisoning.
The transcript showed that Abbas protested, saying that murdering Arafat could complicate things and cause serious difficulties.
The Arabic version of the transcript showed Sharon saying the following to Abbas and Dahlan: 'To start with, we should kill all the military and political leaders of Hamas, Jihad, al-Aqsa Brigades and the Popular Front in order to create chaos within their ranks which would make it easier for you to finish them off.’
Sharon then allegedly responded to a suggestion by Dahlan to first abide by a 'period of calm’ by saying:
'As long as Arafat is still sitting in the Muqata’a in Ramallah, you will definitely fail, because this cunning fox will surprise you all, as he has done in the past, because he knows exactly what you want to do and he will work to make it fail.’
Sharon then added the following: 'The first step therefore should be to poison Arafat and to kill him. I don’t want to send him into exile unless there are guarantees from the country that will take him to place him under house arrest…’
Later on in the transcript, Sharon allegedly mentions the names of senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders to be assassinated, including Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who was murdered by Israel on April 17, 2004.
The document presented by Kaddumi doesn’t spell out the ultimate Israeli-American goal behind the liquidation of Arafat and the top leaders of the resistance. However, it is probably safe to deduce that endgame envisaged behind the alleged conspiracy was the creation of a collaborationist Palestinian regime whose central mission and raison d’etre would be to bully the Palestinian masses into accepting a "peace deal" with Israel that would allow the latter to impose its will and conditions on the Palestinians.
Kaddumi is an important figure in Fatah, and it is difficult to dismiss his revelations as hallucinations as his opponents have done.
Non the less, it is hard to indict Abbas based on these revelations. However, it is also difficult to grant him a certificate of innocence, because Abbas is not beyond suspicion and is certainly not an impeccable figure.
I remember I spoke with Sakhr Habash, a close confidante of Yasser Arafat, two days before the latter’s death, who told me that he was 100% sure that "they killed him."
I pressed him to identify the killers, the people he was referring to. He said "you know them, these people around him, the agents of Israel ."
While one is prompted to speak cautiously about Abbas’s alleged role in poisoning Arafat, that is if indeed the late Palestinian leader died of poisoning, one feels freer and more confident to speak about Dahlan’s not-so-secret treacherous dealings with the Israelis and the Americans.
A few years ago, I remember I listened to a secret audio-taped briefing by Dahlan to some of his supporters at the al-Hurriya Radio in Gaza .
In the briefing, Dahlan was heard swearing to make Hamas regret the day it decided to take part in the elections of 2006.
"I will make them eat..expletive.., and if any Fatah guy dares participate in the Hamas government, I will know how to deal with him."
Dahlan made more horrifying remarks which one would prefer not mentioning because of their poor taste.
In 2008, the American magazine "Vanity Fair" published an extensive investigative report titled "How the Bush Administration Lied to Congress and Armed Fatah to Provoke Palestinian Civil War Aiming to overthrow Hamas."
The report pointed out that the White House tried to organize the armed overthrow of the Hamas-led government after the Islamic liberation group swept Palestinian elections in 2006.
Obviously, Dahlan was the would-be coup leader whose job was to destroy Hamas, arrest or kill its leaders in collaboration with Israel .
According to the report, the Bush administration lied to Congress and boosted military support for Fatah in the aim of provoking a Palestinian civil war they thought Hamas would lose.
Vanity Fair dubbed the episode "Iran Contra 2"-a reference to the Reagan administration’s funding of the Nicaraguan Contras by covertly selling arms to Iran .
David Wurmser, a Bush administration official, was quoted in the report as saying hat he believed that "Hamas’s seizure of power in Gaza last year might have likely been a preemptive measure against the anticipated US-backed coup."
In light, there is overwhelming evidence that Dahlan brazenly collaborated with the Israeli and American intelligence services against his own people just as it is amply clear that the current regime in Ramallah is collaborating, coordinating and conspiring with Israel to liquidate the resistance in the West Bank .
True, Abbas might argue that he played no part in plotting to murder Yasser Arafat. However, he and his regime in Ramallah can’t deny the fact that their security agencies, now trained and armed under the supervision of the American intelligence officer Keith Dayton, have been closely collaborating with Israel for the purpose of eradicating all resistance activists in the West Bank .
Indeed, the recent killings in Qalqilya recently was a damning proof, if a proof were needed, that the PA regime is just another layer of the Israeli occupation.
This, coupled with the unmitigated inquisition of hounding, repression, arrest, dismissal from jobs, seizure and closure of institutions as well as the rampancy of torture which in many instances lead to cruel death demonstrates that the PA is working in concert with Israel to harm and undermine national Palestinian interests.
This alone, and irrespective of who poisoned Arafat, is sufficient to indict the present leadership in Ramallah for collaboration with Israel and treason.
:: Article nr. 56044 sent on 16-jul-2009 15:09 ECT
:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.
Arafat poison-plot transcript causes storm in Palestine (News Feature)
Middle East Features
By Ofira Koopmans and Maher Abukhater Jul 15, 2009, 15:52 GMT
Ramallah - An alleged transcript purporting to show details of a plot to kill Yasser Arafat released to the media by a political adversary of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is causing a major storm in the Palestinian areas.
According to the document, whose authenticity could not be verified independently, former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon suggested in a March 2, 2004 meeting with Abbas and his former security adviser Mohammed Dahlan that late and legendary Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should be poisoned.
Abbas, according to the transcript, protested that this could cause 'serious difficulties. '
But he did not storm out of the meeting in shock.
The transcript was presented by Farouq al-Qaddoumi, a senior member of Abbas' Fatah party and of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, at a news conference in Amman on Monday.
He said Arafat sent him the document shortly before his death - without saying how he had obtained it.
Qaddoumi is currently at odds with Abbas as part of an internal Fatah power struggle.
His news conference sparked sharp reactions in the Palestinian areas, with Abbas' supporters accusing him of being 'deranged,' 'sick,' and politically and psychologically unstable.
The meeting - according to the transcript - focused on security matters and on cracking down on Palestinian militants. In it, Sharon argued that so long as Arafat was alive, none of the plans to crack down on militants being discussed would be able to succeed.
The meeting ostensibly took place eight months before Arafat's death in November 2004. Arafat died aged 75 of a stroke triggered by an intestinal infection.
He had been under siege in his Ramallah headquarters for more than two years, after Israel had declared him an 'obstacle' to peace because of his simultaneous support for both peace negotiations and armed struggle to achieve Palestinian statehood.
The exact cause of the intestinal infection itself was never pinpointed, but doctors suggested food contamination. No traces of toxins were ever found in Arafat's blood.
Conspiracy theories that he was poisoned by Israel nonetheless began to flourish immediately after his death.
However, top Abbas aide Yasser Abde Rabbo fired back that if Qaddoumi had real documents containing 'such grave charges,' why did he not reveal them five years ago?'
Abbas' West Bank-based administration on Wednesday shut down the Ramallah office of al-Jazeera for reporting about Qaddoumi's news conference.
The content of the alleged transcript could be explosive against the backdrop of Abbas' lingering power struggle with the radical Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza.
Hamas has long accused Abbas of being an Israeli and American puppet and of going against what Hamas calls its legitimate armed resistance against Israel. Abbas aides have long accused al-Jazeera of siding with Hamas in the power struggle between the two rival Palestinian camps.
Qaddoumi's allegations could well add wind to the sails of Hamas:
In the transcribed meeting, attended also by American representatives, the sides discussed at length the targeted killing of senior leaders, mainly of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
While Abbas appeared to hold back, Dahlan seemed to agree with Sharon.
According to the Arabic transcript released by Qaddoumi Monday, Sharon told Abbas and Dahlan: 'To start with, we should kill all the military and political leaders of Hamas, Jihad, al-Aqsa Brigades and the Popular Front to create chaos within their ranks that would make it easier for you to finish them off.'
Abbas, according to the transcript, replied that this would 'definitely fail.'
Sharon then allegedly responded to a suggestion by Dahlan to first abide by a 'period of calm' by saying:
'As long as Arafat is still sitting in the Muqata'a in Ramallah, you will definitely fail, because this cunning fox will surprise you all, as he has done in the past, because he knows exactly what you want to do and he will work to make it fail.'
The former Israeli premier then allegedly added at one point: 'The first step therefore should be to poison Arafat and to kill him. I don't want to send him into exile unless there are guarantees from the country that will take him to place him under house arrest...'
Sharon suffered a stroke in early 2006 that left him hospitalized and unable to finish his term as premier.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev on Wednesday dismissed the affair as an internal Fatah struggle. Asked about the alleged Sharon quote, he said: 'It's the first time I've heard of it.'
Later on in the transcript, Sharon allegedly mentions the names of senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders to be assassinated, including Abdel Aziz Rantissi, who was killed in a targeted airstrike in Gaza on April 17, 2004, and Islamic Jihad leader Abdullah Shami.
Abbas again protests, saying - according to the transcript - he preferred a truce in Gaza first 'until we control the ground.'
But Dahlan sides with Sharon, saying, allegedly: 'I am with the killing of Ranteesi and Shami.'