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Egyptian and PA officials deny WikiLeaks implied complicity in Israel attack

Egyptian and Palestinian officials deny the implication suggested by WikiLeaks-released US documents that Israel had an understanding with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority with respect to its 2008 invasion of Gaza

Dina Ezzat, Monday 29 Nov 2010
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An Egyptian official and an official of the Ramallah based Palestinian Authority vehemently denied, in statements to Ahram Online, the suggestion that US documents released by WikiLeaks Sunday night imply possible Egyptian and PA complicity in Israeli invasion of Gaza December 2008. 

The widely quoted WikiLeaks story, carried by several Israeli papers, suggested, in accordance with a US diplomatic cable released by the whistle-blower website, that Israel tried to coordinate "Operation Cast Lead" with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

The information on the December 2008 Gaza operation was revealed by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, in a June 2009 telegram.

Both the Egyptian and the Palestinian sources said that they had "indications" that there was going to be a military attack of sorts against Hamas targets in Gaza. However, this conclusion was not reached simply as a result of statements made privately and publicly by Israeli officials but also via numerous expressions of concern shared among foreign diplomats and international humanitarian organisations working in Gaza.

According to the senior Egyptian source, who preferred anonymity, Cairo received messages of alarm from within Gaza and received Israeli officials, including then foreign minister of Israel, who specifically told reporters following a meeting with senior officials in Cairo days before the war: "Hamas must know that enough is enough."

Cairo, however, according to the same source "did not at all provide Israel with intelligence information to help it during the assault".

For his part, the PA official said that "security coordination with Israel is imposed on us by virtue of the peace agreements but we did not have a hand in 'Operation Cast Lead".

The Egyptian source stated that Cairo was very disturbed by the length and scope of the "war on Gaza" and that Cairo "had not expected such a long and violent war".

"We warned Hamas repeatedly that there was no point in provoking Israel and we tried to stop the war when it started," said the Egyptian official.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian official said "if there were some people who are somehow associated with the PA sharing classified information with Israel then that was not at all done with the approval of [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen."

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