ISRAEL

The Khaled Meshal Affair

1997

Materials arranged chronologically.

CNN. "Israel to Probe Assassination Attempt in Jordan. Unrepentant Netanyahu: No Compromise on Terror. 6 Oct. 1997. [http://www.cnn.com]

"The Israeli government has appointed a special commission to investigate an alleged assassination attempt against a Hamas leader by Israeli agents in Jordan last month. But at a news conference announcing the commission..., an unrepentant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ... defended the use of secret operations against suspected terrorists."

Gellman, Barton. "The Fallout from a Botched Assassination Try." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 13 Oct. 1997, 14-15.

Cowell, Alan. "The Daring Attack that Blew Up in Israel's Face." New York Times, 15 Oct. 1997, A1, A6.

This report provides a detailed account of the Israeli attempt to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Amman and the ensuing negotiations with an outraged King Hussein.

Commission Concerning the Events in Jordan September 1997. Report of the Commission Concerning the Events in Jordan September 1997: Summary for Publication. Jerusalem: Government Press Office, 17 Feb. 1998. [http://www.fas.org/irp/world/israel/ciechanover.htm]

The members of the commission were Dr. Yosef Ciechanover, Lt. Gen. (Res.) Rafi Peled, and Maj. Gen. (Res.) Dan Tolkowsky.

Schmemann, Serge. "Jordan Fiasco: No Blame Falls on Netanyahu." New York Times, 17 Feb. 1998, A1, A8.

A three-man commission appointed to investigate the failed attack on Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal has concluded that "the attack was flawed in its conception, training and execution." The panel charged that Mossad head Danny Yatom "erred in his handling of the operation and in approval of the plan," but absolved Prime Minister Netanyahu of any blame for the fiasco. One member filed a minority report stating that Yatom should be fired. However, the commission "endorsed the policy that terrorists can be hit 'wherever they may be.'"

Schmemann, Serge. "Mossad Chief Quits but Defends His Role in Jordan Fiasco." New York Times, 25 Feb. 1998, A3.

Danny Yatom resigned as head of Mossad on 24 February 1998. In his resignation letter, Yatom insisted that he had been unfairly criticized by the commission investigating the failed assassination attempt in Jordan. There have been reports in the Israeli press that Yatom was under pressure from within the intelligence agency to accept responsibility for the failure and step down. See also, Avi Machlis, "Mossad Chief Quits in Wake of Blunders," Financial Times, 25 Feb. 1998, 6.

Dan, Uri. "Cloak and Dagger Hit Man." New York Post, 25 Jun. 2000. [http://www. nypost.com]

Former Mossad officer Mishka Ben-David has blamed then-Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu for the failed assassination attempt against Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal.

McGeough, Paul. Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas. New York: New Press, 2009.

For Peake, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), this "story is fascinating and well told. Kill Khalid exposes the intricacies of dealing with Middle East nations and factions, is well documented, and a most valuable contribution." Terrill, Parameters 36.4 (Winter 2009-2010), finds that this work "is primarily an examination of the emergence of Hamas as one of the leading political forces within the Palestinian territories." The author presents the story of the failed assassination as "a key event in the rise of Hamas.... McGeough's book expresses a higher level of sympathy for Hamas than would be found among most western journalists."

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