Yuval Diskin 311.
(photo credit: Sivan Faraj )
Top Fatah members aligned with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
asked Israel to attack Hamas ahead of its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in
the summer of 2007, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin told
the American ambassador to Israel, according to a US diplomatic cable published on Monday by Wikileaks.
The disclosure could embarrass Abbas and his
Fatah movement, which Hamas has accused of working with the Israelis. Abbas’s
standing among Palestinians has already been weakened by his failure to make
progress in peacemaking with Israel.
WikiLeaks: US-Israel relations weathered a 'rocky start'
The cable, dated June 11, 2007,
reports that Diskin met with ambassador Richard Jones and briefed him on the
Shin Bet’s assessments of the Palestinian Authority.
While claiming to
have a “very good working relationship” with the PA and its intelligence agency,
Diskin slammed the chief of intelligence, Tawfik Tirawi, and described him as
“psychopathic, cruel, dangerous and prone to extreme mood swings,” according to
Tirawi’s “mood,” said Diskin, was preventing Fatah from
stopping Hamas attacks against Israel in the West Bank.
Diskin also said
some leaders of Fatah – which he described as “desperate, disorganized and
demoralized” – urged Israel to intervene in the infighting in Gaza. He said that
the PA shared with Israel almost all of the intelligence it
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,” Diskin said. “This is a new development. We
have never seen this before. They are desperate.”
In the meeting, which
took place just days before Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, Diskin said he did
not believe Hamas was in a position to take over Gaza.
He also came out
against the work of the United States security coordinator to the region,
Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, and his plan to equip Fatah security forces with weapons
that could one day fall into Hamas hands, as they eventually did several days
Diskin also warned Jones that security forces loyal to Abbas and
Fatah had been penetrated by Hamas, referring specifically to an incident during
which Hamas seized heavy machine guns from Abbas’s Presidential
During the meeting, Diskin revealed that Israel had received a
request to allow PA forces to travel to Yemen for training but that it had
refused to allow it, due to concerns about the forces training in a country with
a strong al- Qaida presence.
In the end, after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza,
Israel began allowing PA forces to travel to Jordan for training.
warned during the 2007 meeting that Abbas viewed Fatah as weak and “on its last
He also said that in his opinion, Abbas was becoming a problem for
Israel since he could not do anything effective.
“He knows he is weak and
that he has failed. He has failed to rehabilitate Fatah. He did not start to
take any action when he had the chance in 2004. Instead of choosing to be the
leader for Fatah, he chose to be a national leader for all Palestinians,” Diskin
Diskin also lamented prospective successors for Abbas, claiming
that Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, if he took over, would be incapable of
controlling the West Bank and that jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti would
be able to control the West Bank but not the Gaza Strip, where Dahlan could
enforce his rule.
“It is something in their blood,” he said. “The leaders
of the West Bank cannot rule the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and vice
In another, more recent cable from last November, the head of the
Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos Gilad is quoted as saying
that Abbas “will not survive politically” past the year 2011.
that Abbas faced “unprecedented criticism within the Palestinian Authority over
his handling of the Goldstone report.”
Gilad explained that this
criticism from within the PA, coupled with “a stubborn Hamas,” had considerably
weakened the PA president.