If people wanted to see something explosive from the Wikileaks cables stolen by Bradley Manning and released by Julian Assange, this will do:
A U.S. cable leaked on Monday said Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas’s forces worked closely together against Hamas as it took over Gaza in 2007, a potentially embarrassing revelation for the Palestinian leader.
Israel has acknowledged working with Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces loyal to the Western-backed Abbas, but the diplomatic memo leaked by WikiLeaks describes a level of cooperation that could fuel criticism of Abbas by his Islamist rivals.
The 2007 cable quoted Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service, as saying the PA security apparatus shares with Israel “almost all the intelligence that it collects.”
“They understand that Israel’s security is central to their survival in the struggle with Hamas in the West Bank,” the cable said.
The cable, dated June 13, 2007, was sent from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv as Hamas forces were routing Abbas’s security forces to take over the Gaza Strip. Abbas has since ruled only in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Well, that should go over well in the West Bank, don’t you think? Obviously, the two Palestinian powers have been warring with each other for years, and it might have been guessed that Abbas would seek Israel’s assistance in the power struggle between the two. It’s one thing to guess, however, and another entirely to read an American diplomatic cable reveal the collaboration of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority against Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank.
Certainly, Abbas’ actions are rational and show him in a better light outside of the cauldron of the Israeli-Palestinian standoff, but it’s not going to be popular on the West Bank by any stretch. It will undermine the PA at a time when the US wants to push hard on peace talks, and make it more difficult than ever to get concessions from Abbas. If the cable itself doesn’t touch off new fighting between Hamas and the PA, a collapse of the peace talks may bring about a new round of intifada. This release goes beyond embarrassment; it will probably cost lives in a manner that might have otherwise been avoided.