Former Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat smuggled four "arch-terrorists" in his car two months after the authority was established in 1994, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director MK Avi Dichter said at an Im Tirtzu conference last month.
In an August interview at a Tel Aviv conference organized by the right-wing movement Im Tirtzu and Canadians for Israel, Dichter, a lawmaker from the ruling Likud Party, recalled receiving a troubled call from a Shin Bet officer who said Arafat "looked taller" upon his return to Israel from Egypt.
"There was a convoy of Mercedes, and my guy says, 'I have no doubt that Arafat is smuggling someone in his car,'" he recalled. "We couldn't check the cars," he said, " so we let them continue into Gaza. [It is a] 15-20 minute ride from Rafah to Gaza, [but] once they got to Gaza, we already had all the intel."
"Four arch terrorists were smuggled in the convoy of the President of the Palestinian Authority," Dichter said. Not specifying the infiltrators' names, he said that "three [of them] were in the trunks of [seperate] Mercedes," and the fourth – Jihad al-Amarin – "was lying on the back seat with the president of the PA sitting on top of him."
Amarin, according to the lawmaker, was responsible for a 1986 bombing attack in Silwan, east Jerusalem. The attack left one dead and 69 wounded at an IDF swearing-in ceremony for new recruits.
"We passed on the information to [former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin], who asked us to make sure that the intel was accurate," said the former director. According to Dichter, Rabin gave Arafat an ultimatum, threatening to freeze the peace talks if the four terrorists aren't "thrown out."
"So Arafat took the four, [and] took them back to Egypt," said Dichter, adding that the former Palestinian president deemed it as a minor issue, "as if this was an inconsequential thing that the president of the Palestinian Authority smuggles terrorists in his own car."
Dichter ended his speech claiming that, unlike many may argue, the responsibility for failure of the Oslo Accords lies completely on the Palestinian Authority, using the incident to blame Arafat for the collapse of the peace process in the early 2000s.