'Fatah asked Israel to attack Hamas before Gaza takeover'

According to Wikileaks cable, Shin Bet head Diskin told the US in Nov. 2007 that PA's intel chief is a cruel, dangerous psychopath.

Yuval Diskin 311 (photo credit: Sivan Faraj )
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.
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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 the cable.
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 collected.
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 later.
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 Guard.
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.
Diskin warned during the 2007 meeting that Abbas viewed Fatah as weak and “on its last legs.”
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 said.
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 versa.”
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.
Gilad said 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.