Comment: Is Palestinian Fatah Spying for Israel?
April 18, 2010 8 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Gaza-based Palestinian movement Hamas has again accused a senior official of rival Palestinian group Fatah of spying for Israel. Speaking last week from Gaza Damascus, Syria, Hamas official Mohammed Nazal said that Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Dahlan, who has been tipped for the post of Vice President in Fatah-controlled Palestinian National Authority, is actively gathering information on behalf of Israeli intelligence. Nazal said Hamas received a tip-off about Dahlan from a former security officer in the Palestinian National Authority, who appears to have defected to Hamas. The unnamed informant reportedly met with Hamas defense officials on Friday, and told them that Dahlan had asked him to “collect detailed information” about the March 26 execution of two Palestinians, who were accused by Hamas of working for Israeli intelligence. He also claimed that Dahlan showed him a lengthy list of known Hamas operatives and asked him to determine the precise location of their residences in the Gaza strip.
The allegations concerning Mohammed Dahlan’s rumored contacts with Israeli and Western intelligence agencies go back several years. Until 2006, Dahlan, a.k.a. Abu Fadi, was the charismatic leader of Fatah in the Gaza strip. But in the civil strife that followed Hamas’ 2006 election success, Dahlan –a fluent Hebrew-speaker– was expelled from Gaza, along with his extensive network of operatives. Two years later, Vanity Fair reported that Dahlan led an aborted CIA-funded coup against Hamas, which involved extensive CIA paramilitary training, and formed the basis of the CIA’s current presence in the West Bank.
IntelNews has previously reported on the increasingly close collaboration between Fatah and Israeli or American security agencies. Last August, it emerged that Israeli Shin Bet operatives were providing political security for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad during their official trips around the West Bank. In December of last year, British newspaper The Guardian alleged that the Fatah-controlled General Intelligence service and the Preventive Security Service were working so closely with the CIA, that some American intelligence officers “consider them as their property”.
Less than a month later, there were reports of three Palestinians having allegedly assisted Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to assassinate Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. It is worth noting that all three were arrested by Emirati and Jordanian authorities, who have little sympathy for Hamas. The three arrestees included two Palestinian ‘businessmen’ in Dubai, who are known to belong to Fatah’s network of operatives, as well as Ahmad Hasnin, a Fatah intelligence officer.
The latest accusations by Hamas against Mohammed Dahlan should be considered within the context of the increasingly close collaboration between Fatah, the CIA, and Israeli security agencies. Admittedly, it is difficult to imagine someone like Dahlan working alongside the Shin Bet, the same agency that imprisoned him nearly a dozen times in the 1980s. On the other hand, close observers of the deepening political rift between Hamas and Fatah would admit that this scenario appears more likely as the Hamas-Fatah rivalry deepens. Both factions now routinely direct considerable portions of their security apparatus on each other. It is easy to see how US and Israeli intelligence agencies would be very interested in having a share in Fatah’s intelligence exploits in the Gaza strip.