Leaks claim Palestinian ‚collusion‘

Leaked US cables say Palestinian security forces engage in extensive co-operation with their Israeli counterparts.

The Palestinian security forces engage in extensive co-operation with their Israeli counterparts, according to US documents released by the WikiLeaks website.

One cable quotes Yuval Diskin, the head of Shabak, Israel’s security service, as saying his agency has „friendly, professional and sincere“ information exchanges with the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the occupied West Bank.

The comments, first reported by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Tuesday, were reportedly included in a US note documenting a conversation between Diskin and James Cunningham, the US ambassador to Israel, in January 2010.

Another wire records complaints from those responsible for security in the Palestinian Authority about the „one-sided Israeli approach“.

Hazim Atallah, the West Bank’s most senior police official, expressed frustration „with far more information flowing from the Palestinian side to Israel than is received in return“.

Confidential relations

Said Abu Ali, the minister of interior in the Palestinian provisional government, emphasised that it was „necessary“ that the security collaboration with the Israelis remained confidential.

„Keep them [the contacts] out of the public eye,“ the wire quotes him as saying.

The documents released by WikiLeaks appeared to support the allegations in the largest-ever leak of confidential documents related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which have given examples of other instances where the Palestinian Authority has worked closely with Israel.

The documents uncovered by Al Jazeera reveal an exchange in 2005 between the PA and Israel on a plan to kill a Palestinian fighter in the Gaza Strip. Others tell how the PA and Israeli officials discussed collaboration between the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, the armed wing of Fatah, and Israeli security forces.

The leaked US documents, reported by Dagens Nyheter, also revealed that the Palestinians handed over a so-called Qassam rocket to the Israeli defence forces in early 2010. The Palestinian security forces had seized the home-made rocket in conjunction with the arrest and interrogation of two members of Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

‚Operational‘ meetings

According to a document said to be drafted at the US embassy in Israel in 2005, Israeli and Palestinian security services had agreed to meet every 10 to 14 days at „operational level“, and to follow up with meetings „in the field“.

In a later cable, from 2007, a Palestinian intelligence officer said dozens of suspected „terrorists“ had been detained in the recent past and that „confiscated ammunition and explosives routinely were handed over to Israeli military“.

Dagens Nyheter further cited a 2008 document saying the Israeli army had handed over a list of suspected „terrorists“ to the Palestinian Authority. The parties then agreed that the Palestinians should report back to Israel on what actions they had been taking.

Another document revealed that Israeli and Palestinian security services met in December 2008, during Israel’s war on Gaza, agreeing that a very close security co-operation was important to quell unrest in the West Bank.

The parties stressed the importance of keeping the meeting secret, „in the view of the sensitivity of security co-operation at times of Palestinian anger over the events in Gaza“.