Monday, December 20, 2010

WikiLeaks: Possibility of Israeli-Palestinian co-operation over Gaza

WikiLeaks: Possibility of Israeli-Palestinian co-operation over Gaza
The Daily Telegraph (UK)
5:10PM GMT
20 Dec 2010

A cable released by WikiLeaks on Monday suggested close co-operation between Israel and forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when rival Hamas militants overran the Gaza Strip three years ago.

The disclosure could embarrass Mr Abbas and his Fatah movement, which Hamas has accused of working with the Israelis. Mr Abbas' standing among Palestinians has already been weakened by his failure to make progress in peacemaking with Israel.

The June 13, 2007, cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, citing a conversation that took place during the civil war that ended with Hamas' takeover of Gaza, cites Israeli Security Agency chief Yuval Diskin as saying Israel had "established a very good working relationship" with two branches of the Palestinian security service.
Mr Abbas' internal security agency, he said, "shares with ISA almost all the intelligence that it collects."

Palestinians have a complex relationship with Israel, pursuing peace talks on the one hand but considering it an enemy on the other, because of its occupation of the West Bank and its settlements there. Collaboration with Israeli security is seen by Palestinians as an onerous offence.

The Israeli Security Agency, also known as the Shin Bet, is reviled by Palestinians for its sometimes deadly raids on militant targets and its often harsh treatment of Palestinian suspects. Although Israeli and Palestinian security forces are known to co-operate, the tight co-ordination described by Mr Diskin could further weaken Mr Abbas.
In the cable, Mr Diskin also said some leaders of Fatah – which he described as "desperate, disorganised and demoralised" – urged Israel to intervene in the infighting in Gaza.

Without identifying the leaders by name, he said they were in an "urgent situation."

"They are approaching a zero-sum situation, and yet they ask us to attack Hamas," Mr Diskin said. "This is a new development. We have never seen this before. They are desperate."

Since the Hamas takeover, Mr Abbas' Palestinian Authority has ruled only the West Bank, leaving the Palestinians with two rival governments.

An official with Mr Abbas' government played down the information in the newly released cable, saying "information-sharing between us and Israel is limited to field information that serves our security and the interest of our people." He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the matter with reporters.

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