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WikiLeaks: Fatah asked Israel to attack Hamas

"Demoralised" Fatah officials asked for Israeli help against growing strength of Hamas, according to released American cables

AFP, Monday 20 Dec 2010
Fatah - Hamas
In this Monday, Nov. 12, 2007 file photo, Palestinian Fatah supporters run from gunfire during clashes with Hamas security forces at a rally marking the third anniversary of the death of leader Yasser Arafat, during the largest public display of support for the rival Fatah movement since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June, in Gaza City. A cable released by WikiLeaks on Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, suggested close cooperation between Israel and forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when rival Hamas militants overran the Gaza Strip three years ago. (AP
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Members of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' Fatah party asked Israel to attack rival Palestinian movement Hamas in 2007, diplomatic cables leaked by whistleblower WikiLeaks show.

The latest batch of cables quote the head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency as telling US officials that "demoralised" Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip had asked for help against the growing strength of Hamas.

"They are approaching a zero-sum situation, and yet they ask us to attack Hamas," Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told US officials. "They are desperate."

He went on to praise his organisation's "very good working relationship" with Abbas' security service, which he said shared with the Shin Bet "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," he said during the June 2007 meeting.

Revelations of such close collusion with Israel against fellow Palestinians is likely to embarrass Abbas and Fatah.

Hamas and Fatah have had tense relations for years, and resentment boiled over shortly after the Islamist group won elections in 2006. A year later, shortly after Diskin's comments in 2007, Hamas routed Fatah in bloody fighting in the Gaza Strip and seized control of the coastal enclave.

The leaked cables were part of a flood of US diplomatic files published online by WikiLeaks, angering and embarrassing governments around the world.

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