Fatah: Claims over Hamas attack are Shin Bet conspiracy

Statement issued in response to US State Dept. cable claiming Fatah asked Israel to attack Hamas in Gaza in 2007.

Abbas fatah pensive 248 88 AP (photo credit: )
Abbas fatah pensive 248 88 AP
(photo credit: )
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank strongly denied on Tuesday that its representatives had asked Israel to attack Hamas in 2007.
Fatah claimed that a recent WikiLeaks revelation, to the effect that Fatah had sought Israel’s help to fight Hamas, was a “conspiracy” by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
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A WikiLeaks cable released this week revealed that members of Fatah had asked Israel to attack Hamas in 2007.
The cable quoted Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin as telling US officials that Fatah in the Gaza Strip was “approaching a zero-sum situation, and yet they ask us to attack Hamas. They are desperate.”
The latest revelation has seriously embarrassed Fatah, particularly in the wake of the fact that many Arab media outlets rushed to report it.
Moreover, it has intensified tensions between Fatah and Hamas, with each side accusing the other of arresting dozens of its supporters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In a statement issued in Ramallah, Fatah called on Palestinians and Arabs to “beware of a wave of rumors that are aimed at creating [a] schism in Fatah.”
Fatah condemned the WikiLeaks cable as a plot by Shin Bet and other Israeli security services to deepen divisions among Palestinians.
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“None of our members made such a request to the Israeli occupation forces because it contradicts our national values and principles,” the Fatah statement said. “All of our positions are made public, and we have no secrets. These are fabrications and lies that are part of a Shin Bet conspiracy.”
Fatah also appealed to Arab journalists and media organizations to avoid publishing such allegations in the future.
Hamas, which had in the past made similar charges against Fatah, said that the WikiLeaks cable was a “dangerous development that exposed the magnitude of security cooperation between Fatah and Israel in the West Bank.”
Hamas officials also accused Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank of arresting and torturing many supporters of the Islamist movement in the West Bank.
“Brutal torture in Fatah prisons in the West Bank has reached the degree of death,” said Hamas legislator and spokesman Mushir al-Masri. “What is happening in the Fatah prisons is similar to what has been happening in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.”
Another Hamas official claimed that 26 Hamas detainees held in PA prisons were currently on hunger strike. He said that the PA security forces had recently stepped up their crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank and that some women had also been taken into custody.
Saleh Arouri, a Damascus-based Hamas official, said that most of these detainees, who were being held without trial, preferred death over continued incarceration.