Voicing skepticism over a plan to pardon Fatah fugitives in the West Bank, defense officials said Monday that the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) will continue to keep a close eye on the gunmen to ensure that they abide by their agreement to cease all anti-Israel terror activity.
According to an agreement signed last week and set in motion on Sunday to strengthen Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, 178 Fatah gunmen were removed from the Shin Bet's fugitive list in exchange for surrendering their weapons and signing a document promising to cease all terrorist activity.
The fugitives will need to spend most of their time over the next three months in the vicinity of the Palestinian security forces' offices in their respective West Bank cities, where they will be monitored to ensure they fulfill their side of the agreement. Israeli security officials said Monday that despite the commitment, the Shin Bet and the IDF would use advanced monitoring systems to also keep an eye on the fugitives.
"It's hard to believe that senior terror operatives like Zakariya Zubeidi [head of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin] will just give up their weapons," explained a source in the Central Command.
"Even though the Palestinians are responsible for the fugitives, it's also our responsibility to ensure they abide by the agreement, as well."
After the three months are up, Palestinian and Israeli officials will meet to discuss the fate of those fugitives who held to the agreement. Officials said Monday that the goal would be to integrate Fatah gunmen into the official Palestinian security branches.