On August 6, Ehud Olmert was on his way to the truly charming West Bank town of Jericho for one of those confidence-building meetings with Mahmoud Abbas. Alas, Israeli security had found out -- their intelligence is superb! -- that Fatah operatives attached to the Palestinian Authority had planned to target Olmert's party as it entered Jericho and assassinate him and others. The Israelis discovered the plot, and arrested some of the principals. Since these were security officials, they knew the details of the visit.
Israel then handed them over to the P.A., and last week, instead of being charged and detained, they were released by the Palestinians. This is not a way to build confidence or to build peace.
Under pressure from the Olmert government, the former detainees have been re-arrested. In the meantime a Fatah spokesman said the charges were "an Israeli fabrication and lie."
The fact is that the P.A. is a joke, a bitter joke, a joke that cost lives, Jewish and Arab, a tragic joke.