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A Setback for the 'Bush Doctrine' in Gaza

Various | 17.06.2007 15:57 | Anti-racism | World

What's occuring in Gaza is the direct result of US/Israeli schemes to destroy the PA, Hamas, and Palestinian unity. This was done because Zionism doesn't ever want to concede a Palestinian state.

A setback for the Bush doctrine in Gaza
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 14 June 2007

Armed members of Hamas blow up the Palestinian Preventative Security headquarters and intelligence headquarters in Gaza Strip, 14 June 2007. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

The dramatic rout of the US and Israeli-backed Palestinian militias in Gaza by forces loyal to Hamas represents a major setback to the Bush doctrine in Palestine.


Ever since Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in the occupied territories in January 2006, elements of the leadership of the long-dominant Fatah movement, including Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his advisors have conspired with Israel, the United States and the intelligence services of several Arab states to overthrow and weaken Hamas. This support has included funneling weapons and tens of millions of dollars to unaccountable militias, particularly the "Preventive Security Force" headed by Gaza warlord Mohammad Dahlan, a close ally of Israel and the United States and the Abbas-affiliated "Presidential Guard." US Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams -- who helped divert money to the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s and who was convicted of lying to Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal -- has spearheaded the effort to set up these Palestinian Contras. (This background has been extensively detailed in a number of articles published by The Electronic Intifada in recent months). Abrams is also notorious for helping to cover up massacres and atrocities committed against civilians in El Salvador by US-backed militias and death squads.

Two recent revelations underscore the extent of the conspiracy: on 7 June, Ha'aretz reported that "senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip have asked Israel to allow them to receive large shipments of arms and ammunition from Arab countries, including Egypt." According to the Israeli newspaper, Fatah asked Israel for "armored cars, hundreds of armor-piercing RPG rockets, thousands of hand grenades and millions of rounds of ammunition for small caliber weapons," all to be used against Hamas.

From the moment of its election victory, Hamas acted pragmatically and with the intent to integrate itself into the existing political structure. It had observed for over a year a unilateral ceasefire with Israel and had halted the suicide attacks on Israeli civilians that had made it notorious. In a leaked confidential memo written in May and published by The Guardian this week senior UN envoy Alvaro de Soto confirmed that it was under pressure from the United States that Abbas refused Hamas' initial invitation to form a "national unity government." De Soto details that Abbas advisers actively aided and abetted the Israeli-US-European Union aid cutoff and siege of the Palestinians under occupation, which led to massively increased poverty for millions of people. These advisors engaged with the United States in a "plot" to "bring about the untimely demise of the [Palestinian Authority] government led by Hamas," de Soto wrote.

Despite a bloody attempted coup against Hamas by the Dahlan-led forces in December and January, Hamas still agreed to join a "National Unity Government" with Fatah brokered by Saudi Arabia at the Mecca summit. Dahlan and Abbas' advisers were determined to sabotage this, continuing to amass weapons, and refusing to place their militias under the control of a neutral interior minister who eventually resigned in frustration.

A setback for United States and Israel

The core of US strategy in the Southwest and Central Asia, particularly Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon is to establish puppet regimes that will fight America's enemies on its behalf. This strategy seems to be failing everywhere. The Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan. Despite its "surge" the US is no closer to putting down the resistance in Iraq and cannot even trust the Iraqi army it helped set up. The Lebanese army, which the US hopes to bolster as a counterweight to Hizballah, has performed poorly against a few hundred foreign fighters holed up in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp (although it has caused death and devastation to many innocent Palestinian refugees). Now in Gaza, the latest blow.

Israel's policy is a local version of the US strategy -- and it has also been tried and failed. For over two decades Israel relied on a proxy militia, the South Lebanon Army, to help it enforce the occupation of southern Lebanon. In 2000, as Israeli forces hastily withdrew, this militia collapsed just as quickly as Dahlan's forces and many of its members fled to Israel. Hamas is now referring to the rout of Dahlan's forces as a "second liberation of Gaza."

A consistent element of Israeli strategy has been to attempt to circumvent Palestinian resistance by trying to create quisling leaderships. Into the 1970s, Israel still saw the PLO as representing true resistance. So it set up the collaborationist "village leagues" in the West Bank as an alternative. In 1976, it allowed municipal elections in the West Bank in an effort to give this alternative leadership some legitimacy. When PLO-affiliated candidates swept the board, Israel began to assassinate the PLO mayors with car bombs or force them into exile. Once some exiled PLO leaders, most notably Yasser Arafat, became willing subcontractors of the occupation (an arrangement formalized by the Oslo Accords), a new resistance force emerged in the form of Hamas. Israeli efforts to back Dahlan and Abbas, Arafat's successor, as quisling alternatives have now backfired spectacularly.

In the wake of the Fatah collapse in Gaza, Ha'aretz reported that Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert will advise President Bush that Gaza must be isolated from the West Bank. This can be seen as an attempt to shore up Abbas whose survival Israel sees as essential to maintaining the fiction that it does not directly rule millions of disenfranchised Palestinians. A total collapse of the Palestinian Authority would expose Israel's legal obligation, as the occupying power, to provide for the welfare of the Palestinians it rules.

What now for the Palestinian under occupation?

Abbas has declared a "state of emergency" and dismissed Ismail Haniyeh the Hamas prime minister as well as the "national unity government." The "state of emergency" is merely rhetorical. Whatever control he had in Gaza is gone and Israel is in complete control of the West Bank anyway.

Haniyeh in a speech this evening carried live on Al-Jazeera rejected Abbas' "hasty" moves and alleged that they were the result of pressure from abroad. He issued 16 points, among them that the "unity government" represented the will of 96 percent of Palestinians under occupation freely expressed at the ballot box. He reaffirmed his movement's commitment to democracy and the existing political system and that Hamas would not impose changes on people's way of life. Haniyeh said the government would continue to function, would restore law and order and reaffirm Hamas' commitment to national unity and the Mecca agreement. He called on all Hamas members to observe a general amnesty assuring any captured fighters of their safety (this followed media reports of a handful of summary executions of Fatah fighters). He also emphasized that Hamas' fight was not with Fatah as a whole, but only with those elements who had been actively collaborating -- a clear allusion to Dahlan and other Abbas advisors. He portrayed Hamas' takeover as a last resort in the wake of escalating lawlessness and coup attempts by collaborators, listing many alleged crimes that had finally caused Hamas' patience to snap. Haniyeh emphasized the unity of Gaza and the West Bank as "inseparable parts of the Palestinian nation," and he repeated a call for the captors of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston to free him immediately.

The contrast between Abbas' action and the Hamas response is striking. Abbas, perhaps pushed by the same coterie of advisors, seems to be escalating the confrontation and doing so when there is no reason to believe he can prevail. Hamas, while standing firm and from a position of strength, spoke in a language of conciliation, emphasizing time and again that Hamas has a problem with only a small group within Fatah, not its rank and file. Abbas, Dahlan and their backers must be surveying a sobering scene -- they may be tempted to try to take on Hamas in the West Bank, but the scale of their defeat in Gaza would have to give them pause.

Both leaderships are hemmed in. Abbas appears to be entirely dependent on foreign and Israeli support and unable to take decisions independent of a corrupt, self-serving clique. Hamas, whatever intentions it has is likely to find itself under an even tighter siege in Gaza.

Abbas, backed by Israel and the US, has called for a multinational force in Gaza. Hamas has rejected this, saying it would be viewed as an "occupying force." Indeed, they have reason to be suspicious: for decades Israel and the US blocked calls for an international protection force for Palestinians. The multinational force, Hamas fears, would not be there to protect Palestinians from their Israeli occupiers, but to perform the proxy role of protecting Israel's interests that Dahlan's forces are longer able to carry out and to counter the resistance -- just as the multinational force was supposed to do in Lebanon after the July 2006 war.

Wise leaders in Israel and the United States would recognize that Hamas is not a passing phenomenon, and that they can never create puppet leaders who will be able to compete against a popular resistance movement. But there are no signs of wisdom: the US has now asked Israel to "loosen its grip" in the West Bank to try to give Abbas a boost. Although the Bush doctrine has suffered a blow, the Palestinian people have not won any great victory. The sordid game at their expense continues.

Ali Abunimah is cofounder of the online publication The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.

What's occured in Gaza is the result of US and Israeli policy in the Territories.
Politicide: Israeli policies aimed to undermine social and political cohesion of a Palestinian nation

Israel: procilivity to use force instead of diplomacy
Last update - 02:33 17/06/2007

Why didn't you consult with Mofaz?

By Gideon Levy

Now everything is clear: Everything happened because no one consulted with Shaul Mofaz. The Winograd Committee protocols published last week indicate that the committee members were surprised the former defense minister did not play a more active role in the Second Lebanon War. "You are the most experienced person," committee member Ruth Gavison said to him. Is she also unaware of what Mofaz's "experience" has generated? Do she and her colleagues still fail to understand, when Gaza is becoming Hamastan, the extent to which his policy contributed to the abyss we are facing today?

"I thought it was necessary to strike very hard," Mofaz said, expressing his sole tenet and offering the committee a meaningless play on words: "I thought it was a battle and not a war." Battle or war, the government should be praised for not taking interest in Mofaz's proposals. The fact that the committee of inquiry nearly scolded him for not being more active should cause us considerable concern. If, heaven forbid, the government had listened to Mofaz, the war would have dragged on and on.

Mofaz is the last of the government ministers whose security advice the committee should solicit. As chief of staff and as defense minister, he caused Israel enough damage. In a proper state, he would have been denounced or sent packing long ago over his responsibility for the stupid policy that brought serious disaster upon Israel and its neighbors, as the scenes in Gaza are demonstrating.

"To strike very hard" - that is the essence of his entire world. That is the only thing he knows how to do. He has never used another language. If there is one person who epitomizes Israel's belligerent outlook, it is him. The result: 1,705 Palestinians, including 372 children and teenagers, were killed during his term as defense minister, six times the number of Israelis killed; Israel assassinated 191 people during this period.

But this is not only a matter of a distorted morality, but also of the rotten fruits of this crazy policy. Mofaz was not only Ariel Sharon's liquidation contractor; he was also the person responsible for carrying out the liquidation of the Palestinian Authority. Even as chief of staff, a stray microphone caught him whispering to the prime minister that Yasser Arafat should be deported. Under Mofaz's command, Israel destroyed all the apparatuses of the PA. No one, certainly not Mofaz, asked what would arise in its place and how it would help us if we were to dispose of Arafat, the only Palestinian leader capable of unifying his people and reaching an accord. Who did Mofaz think - if he thought at all - would replace Arafat? Not Hamas?

You do not have to be a leftist to long for Arafat. The terrible anarchy in Gaza is a direct result of the crushing of the Palestinian Authority. Mofaz (as well as Sharon, of course) is responsible for this. Hamas has entered the vacuum, which is characterized by hunger and despair. This is unforgivable. Historically speaking, this is a much more fateful mistake than the war in Lebanon. Instead of Arafat, who was portrayed as an obstacle to peace, and instead of the PA, we now have Hamastan. Mofaz's policy led to this. If a committee is ever formed to investigate what led to missing the chance for peace and the rise of Hamas, Mofaz will be its central subject.

This is the man whose experience the Winograd Committee sought. This is the man who is now a candidate for promotion in the Olmert government. We have to thank the Labor Party voters who chose Ehud Barak, thus preventing Mofaz's return to the Defense Ministry. This man, whose main contribution to security was the "Mofazit" - a plastic device for attaching a magazine to a rifle - has already inflicted enough damage upon Israel.

Document details 'US' plan to sink Hamas
By Mark Perry and Paul Woodward

On April 30, the Jordanian weekly newspaper Al-Majd published a story about a 16-page secret document, an "Action Plan for the Palestinian Presidency" that called for undermining and replacing the Palestinian national-unity government.

The document outlined steps that would strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, build up Palestinian security forces under his command, lead to the dissolution of the Palestinian Parliament, and strengthen US allies in Fatah in a lead-up to parliamentary elections that Abbas would call for early this autumn.

The Majd document is based on a Jordanian government translation of a reputed US intelligence document that was obtained by the newspaper from a Jordanian government official. The document, an official at the newspaper said, was drawn up by "Arab and American parties" and "presented to Palestinian President Abbas by the head of an Arab intelligence agency". The document is explosive.

Should Abbas give his agreement to the plan - which is not yet certain - he would be complicit in a program to undermine his own government.

Understanding the implications of the document, Jordanian government officials ordered that the publisher's printing house stop the presses while that edition's plates were confiscated. "The Jordanian security services, which censor newspapers in advance, intervened during the night to stop our print-run," confirmed Fahd Al Rimawi, an editor at Al-Majd.

On May 1, the Jordanian government explained its decision in a statement issued by the president of the Jordanian Press Association, Tareq al-Moumani. The statement claimed that Al-Majd had repeatedly published reports "based on information taken from intelligence sources and offends the country's security and interests".

Moumani explained that the printing house of the Jordanian Press Foundation had refused to print the April 30 edition because it included news reports that were harmful to Jordan "and offended a sisterly state". The "sisterly state" referred to is the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to published sources.

On May 2, the Jordanian government and Moumani gave further background on the Majd case. Moumani claimed that Al-Majd's report was "totally false" and not based on reliable sources. Nevertheless, two days later, Moumani was again being quoted in news reports, this time saying that the press association demanded "the lifting of the ban and insisted on abolishing any censorship".

(Al-Majd, which describes its editorial position as "Arab nationalist", has been in several scrapes with the Jordanian security services - including one incident when the newspaper was banned for two months over an editorial on Saudi Arabia.)

The Jordanian government's action brought swift condemnation from the international Committee to Protect Journalists. "This flagrant act of censorship is further evidence of the poor state of press freedom in Jordan," CPJ executive director Joel Simon said. "Officials should allow Al-Majd to be printed immediately."

The pressure seems to have worked. By the end of last week, Moumani announced that Jordanian authorities had lifted the ban and that the April 30 edition of Al-Majd would be reprinted.

Even so, Al-Majd's publication of the "Action Plan for the Palestinian Presidency" might have faded into obscurity were it not for a May 4 article by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz detailing a US-sponsored "Benchmarks for Agreement on Movement and Access". The "Acceleration Benchmarks" document detailed a series of deadlines for Israel to begin dismantling a large number of its security obstacles and checkpoints in the West Bank - allowing increased access in the occupied territories.

The appearance of the "Benchmarks" document within days of the disclosure of the Majd document suggests a connection, though despite appearances, the former may not in fact be a component of the latter. On the contrary, the disclosure of the two plans in quick succession may reflect competing agendas coming from the US State Department and the White House.

Not surprisingly, the US press has failed to pick up on either the Majd or Haaretz story and has ignored the existence of the White House program aimed at undermining the Hamas government (see No-goodniks and the Palestinian shootout, Asia Times Online, January 9). The Majd document came to the attention of a wider audience when the Amman incident was reported in the weblog Missing Links, which translated sections of the document from Arabic and provided analysis on the proposed plan.

The details of the Majd incident, the publication of the "Action Plan for the Palestinian Presidency", the commentary provided by Missing Links, and the subsequent publication of the additional US document in Haaretz have now made it possible to detail how the United States (or at least one faction of policymakers inside the administration) intends to implement its program to implement a "soft coup" against the Palestinian unity government.

America's 'action plan'
In the wake of the February Mecca Agreement, which called for the formation of a Palestinian unity government, White House officials scrambled to recast their anti-Hamas program. The resulting "action plan" relies heavily on the disbursement of US funds to build President Abbas' security forces at the same time that it escalates the delivery of money to specific development projects affiliated with his office.

The plan as delivered to Abbas, according to a Fatah official, is quite detailed - salaries would be provided to those parts of the Palestinian government closely affiliated with Fatah and supported by Abbas. The plan envisages delivering "a strong blow to Hamas by supplying the Palestinian people with their immediate economic needs through the presidency and Fatah". At the same time, the international boycott of Hamas would stay in place and Hamas-affiliated programs would be starved of funds.

Senior Fatah officials who oppose the program confirm the Majd claim that the action plan was drawn up between the White House and Arab intelligence officials. "You can see the hand of [Egyptian intelligence chief] Omar Sulieman in this," a Fatah official said. "It is no secret that he has been working with the Americans to strengthen Fatah."

But this Fatah official refused to implicate anyone in the Jordanian government, who he claimed "would be much more skeptical of this kind of thing - which may be why the document was leaked in the first place". And while this Fatah official could not say for certain who in the White House would author such a program, the document reflects the long-held views of White House Middle East adviser Elliott Abrams - known as the major impetus behind the rearming of Abbas' security force.

US worries over the increasingly weak position of Abbas are made clear in the action plan's language: "In the absence of strong efforts by Abbas to protect the position of the presidency as the center of gravity of the Palestinian leadership, it can be expected that international support for him will diminish and there won't be enthusiastic cooperation with him," the plan says.

"And a growing number of countries, including the European Union and the G8 [Group of Eight], will start to look for Palestinian partners that are more acceptable and more credible, and more able to make advances in security and governance. And this would strengthen the position of Hamas within Palestinian society, and would further weaken Fatah and the Palestinian presidency. And it would also diminish the chances for early elections."

The plan re-emphasizes the US commitment to building Abbas' security service, a program now funded by some US$59 million in direct congressionally approved security assistance. The money "will deter Hamas or any other faction from any attempt at
escalation, as long as the security control of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah is on a firm basis". The plan also counts on the support of the EU and World Bank.

"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should propose, in consultation with the World Bank and the European Union, a plan that defines specific sectors and projects that are in need of financing, and that will show useful and tangible results on the

ground in the space of six to nine months, centering on the alleviation of poverty and unemployment," the plan notes. "And since some projects will take more than nine months, there should be a guarantee of adequate results within the nine months. This is so as to guarantee the usefulness of these projects before the elections."

Anticipating that Abbas' popularity would now be soaring - and money to his supporters flowing through his office - the plan proposes that Israel act to enhance Abbas' credibility further by removing roadblocks and barricades in the West Bank and easing Palestinian access to Gaza. "Abbas will need to be supplied with the means, both material and legal, to govern and to strengthen his credibility and legitimacy, so that he can comfortably call for parliamentary elections by the beginning of autumn 2007."

Perhaps the most interesting part of the action plan is in its authors' apparent need to cover up the fact that it is being proposed by the US and its Arab - Jordanian and Egyptian - allies. The plan states that it is designed to be presented to the Palestinians as something for them to support and to obtain the agreement of the United States and the Arab quartet, as a first step.

This would give Israel and the Europeans assurance that Abbas is taking the lead. The deception would be complete and US hands would be clean: the "action plan" would not be a US plan to undermine the Palestinian unity government - it would be Abbas' own plan.

Israel's role
On May 4, Haaretz published the US security plan for the West Bank and Gaza, which the newspaper had received from Israeli government officials on April 25. The document - authored by US General Keith Dayton, US Ambassador to Israel Dick Jones, and Consul-General in Jerusalem Jacob Walles - took more than a month to write, according to an American diplomat, and was begun in mid-March soon after the announcement of the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

The timing of the writing of the Haaretz document roughly coincides then with the "action plan" as written for the approval of Abbas, and indeed the two appear connected, either as interrelated plans or, perhaps more likely, reflecting an ongoing struggle inside Washington over who controls Middle East policymaking.

The goal of the US-sponsored "Benchmarks" document is to set a schedule for the removal of Israeli roadblocks and the opening of travel and trade passages in the occupied territories. But the document also contains a strong secondary component, which requires that Israel "approve requests for weapons, munitions and equipment required by defense forces" loyal to Abbas.

The plan's components envisage that Israelis and Palestinians will engage in a coordinated series of actions that will expand PA security control to all sectors of Gaza and the West Bank. Mohammad Dahlan, the newly named head of Abbas' National Security Council, will be charged with drawing up and implementing a security plan that will ensure this. Israel will then slowly ease travel restrictions in specific areas of the West Bank according to a detailed schedule.

But there are two key components of the program - first, that Israel will approve and support the transfer of "armaments, ammunition and equipment" to Dahlan's forces at Dayton's direction and at his specific request and that, in exchange, the PA security forces will implement a program that will suppress Qassam rocket fire into Israel.

According to the "Benchmarks" document, Dahlan would be required to develop a plan against Qassam rockets with the support of President Abbas by no later than June 21, and the forces under Dahlan must be deployed to problem areas no later than that date. The Palestinian forces would also be required to prevent arms smuggling in the Rafah area in coordination with Israel - a long-standing sore point with senior Israel Defense Forces officials since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Within 24 hours of the "Benchmarks" document's publication, Abbas endorsed it. But the plan was swiftly dismissed by Hamas. The organization's Damascus-based leader, Khalid Meshaal, declared that the proposal was "a farce", as it implied that Israeli checkpoints would only be removed as the Palestinians slowly ratcheted down their resistance to the occupation.

"The equation has now become dismantling the checkpoints in exchange for ending the Palestinian resistance," Meshaal said. The Israeli government also hesitated, saying that it would study the proposal. Israeli defense officials took a much harder line, saying that the adoption of the plan would harm Israeli security.

Washington moved quickly to reassure its ally. The plan merely promoted "suggestions and ideas that we have circulated", a State Department spokesman said. "It's not any kind of formal agreement nor is it something that is being enforced on anybody." Four days later, a US Embassy official in Tel Aviv said it was not a "take it or leave it" document, but "an informal draft" of "suggestions" that could "help facilitate discussion, engagement and action".

In the wake of the Majd incident and the publication of the "Benchmarks" document in Haaretz, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice abruptly canceled her trip to Israel, citing "political turmoil" in the Israeli government. In truth, the real turmoil is in Washington, where successive attempts to jump-start a peace process have in effect been short-circuited by Rice's diplomatic fecklessness ("We just don't think she has the president's mandate," an Israeli official notes), or by the White House's willful disregard of Rice's efforts to show America's allies that the US will move to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Condi is just not in charge of your Middle East policy," one Israeli official commented. "Every time she turns around, Elliott Abrams is slapping her down. It's embarrassing." The embarrassment has now become public.

In a breakfast meeting at the White House last Thursday, Abrams told a group of Jewish Republicans that they should not put too much stock in efforts to pressure Israel to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. "He said that pressure on Israel was all for show," a congressional staffer familiar with the meeting said, "and that it was being done just to satisfy the Europeans and Arabs.

"He said, 'You know, we have to show that we're doing something. You really shouldn't worry about it.'"

Abrams, according to a report on the same meeting that appeared in Haaretz, said the talks among Rice, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on prospective negotiations was just "process for the sake of process". The Haaretz report noted that "some of the attendees understood Abrams' comments as an assurance that the peace initiative promoted by Rice doesn't have the full backing of President George W Bush".

Reports of Abrams' comments brought an immediate White House response: "It is inaccurate to suggest that the White House and State Department are at odds on this issue, for the entire administration - including Mr Abrams - is committed to pursuing it [Rice's peace initiative] and the rest of the president's agenda."

Despite this, it is difficult to come to the conclusion that Rice's program - enforcing Israeli compliance with dropping barriers in the West Bank and easing access to Gaza - will be implemented while on the other hand the US program to undermine Hamas seems destined to continue. And in the end, Washington observers note, it is likely that in the current Abrams-Rice tussle, Abrams will win - and the Palestinians will lose.

Mark Perry is the co-director of Conflicts Forum, a Beirut-based organization dedicated to providing an opening to political Islam. He is a political consultant in Washington, DC. Paul Woodward is the managing editor of the Conflicts Forum website and also creator and editor of the foreign affairs blog War in Context.

(Copyright 2007 Mark Perry and Paul Woodward. Used by permission.)

Hamas seizes PA intelligence materials, says Israeli tactics exposed
Published: 06.14.07, 18:09 / Israel News

After storming PA security headquarters in Gaza, Hamas officials say they've uncovered thousands of documents, including classified correspondence with Israeli forces. Hamas: 'These will help us battle Israel's surveillance tactics'

After overtaking the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security headquarters in Gaza City on Thursday afternoon, Hamas fighters report they have seized tens of thousands of highly valuable intelligence documents, including correspondence between the PA and others, including the CIA, regarding security issues.

A Hamas member told Ynet that he and his men removed thousands of documents, video tapes and other equipment from the compound: "I saw my name appeared at least four times in the intelligence documents – in attempts to take me out. I saw details of surveillance against me and joint Fatah-Israeli plans to thwart our attacks."

"These will help us battle Israel's surveillance tactics," he added.

Hamas members seizing Fatah documents (Photo: Reuters)

"If we release these documents, the entire world will be shocked, not just the Palestinians. The dozens of armored vehicles, RPG launchers and rockets, the hundreds of thousands of bullets we have – they are all nothing compared to the documents and data discs we uncovered.

"There are video tapes of surveillance against our fighters and their homes, wiretaps on our calls, the PA's entire method of operation has been exposed," he said.

The Hamas man said that the documents also implicate several Arab nations of involvement in the internal Palestinian power-struggle in an attempt to impair Hamas. According to the Hamas source the papers also document the PA's cooperation with the American CIA against Palestinian organizations, especially Hamas.

Releasing the documents would entail the approval of the Hamas leadership, said the Hamas source, saying that the documents would be used to prove the justness of Hamas' fight against the Palestinian security forces.

The WorldNetDaily news website reported Muhammed Abdel-El, the spokesperson for the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees group, as saying: "The CIA files we seized, which include documents, CDs, taped conversations, and videos, are more important that all the American weapons we obtained the last two days as we took over the traitor Fatah's positions."

Another Hamas official, quoted by WND, said the CIA documents they browsed so far contain "information about the collaboration between Fatah and the Israeli and American security organizations; CIA methods on how to prevent attacks, chase and follow after cells of Hamas and the Committees; plans about Fatah assassinations of members of Hamas and other organizations; and American studies on the security situation in Gaza."

The official claimed the documents also detailed CIA networks in other Arab countries, and "how to help beat Islamic allies of Hamas in other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan.

"We will use these documents and make portions public to prove the collaboration between America and traitor Arab countries," he told WND.

Waiting for Abbas

Meanwhile all eyes are on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas is preparing itself for any scenario, threatening that any decision on Abbas' part that is not deemed acceptable by Hamas will lead to an escalation in the clashes.

"We are the elected government and we represent the Palestinian public's legitimacy," said Hamas.

Hamas said it was prepared to begin combating the anarchy rampant throughout the PA using Hamas Special Forces, police forces and the civilian guard – all would answer only to Ham

"None of the other collapsed forces will be allowed to operate save these groups," announced Hamas.

Another possibility Hamas says it is prepared is the isolation of Gaza and Abbas declaring it a rogue district.

Earlier on Thursday aides to Abbas said that he had given the first order to his elite presidential guard to strike back against Hamas.


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process & imc docs