[News] The Palestine Papers - The al-Madhoun assassination & Erekat: "I can't stand Hamas"

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Tue Jan 25 18:39:15 EST 2011


The Palestine Papers

The al-Madhoun assassination

http://english.aljazeera.net/palestinepapers/2011/01/201112512109241314.html

Documents include handwritten notes of 2005 
exchange between PA and Israel on plan to kill Palestinian fighter in Gaza.
David Poort Last Modified: 25 Jan 2011 20:08 GMT

  Hassan al-Madhoun and a senior Hamas leader 
were killed by Israeli missiles in 2005 [EPA]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has shown 
operational willingness to co-operate with Israel 
to kill its own people, the Palestine Papers indicate.


Madhoun's family reacts

Among the documents are notes, handwritten in 
Arabic, 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/5240>revealing 
an exchange in 2005 between the PA and Israel on 
a plan to kill a Palestinian fighter named Hassan 
al-Madhoun, who lived in the Gaza strip.

Al-Madhoun (born 1973) was a leading figure 
within the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, a movement 
aligned to Fatah, which at that stage still held 
power in Gaza. Al-Madhoun had been accused by 
Israel of planning deadly bombings at Israel’s 
Ashdod port and the Qarni crossing between Gaza and Israel.

In a 
<http://www.ajtransparency.com/en/document/5240>joint 
committee meeting on fugitives in mid-2005 in Tel 
Aviv between Shaul Mofaz, the then-Israeli 
defence minister, and Nasser Youssef, the PA 
minister of interior, the PA was asked to kill al-Madhoun.

Mofaz: “[
] Hassan Madhoun, we know his address 
and Rasheed Abu Shabak [chief of the Preventative 
Security Organisation in Gaza] knows that. Why 
don't you kill him? Hamas fired [Qassam rockets] 
because of the elections and this is a challenge 
to you and a warning to Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president].”

Youssef: “We gave instructions to Rasheed [Abu Shabak] and will see.”

Mofaz: “Since we spoke, he has been planning an 
operation, and that's four weeks ago, and we know 
that he wants to strike Qarni or Erez [another 
border crossing between Gaza and Israel]. He is 
not Hamas and you can kill him.”

Youssef: “We work, the country is not easy, our 
capabilities are limited, and you haven't offered anything.”

Mofaz: “I understand that nothing has been accomplished in the [Gaza] Strip.”

Less then a month after this meeting, on November 
1, 2005, al-Madhoun 
<http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/senior-al-aqsa-gunman-killed-in-gaza-refugee-camp-228180.html>was 
killed in his car by a missile fired from an 
Israeli Apache helicopter over the skies of Gaza. 
The attack also killed a wanted Hamas activist and wounded three other people.

The very next day, Mofaz, who by that time was in 
Washington, pledged to ease the lives of 
Palestinians and to pursue peacemaking with President Abbas.
The US president should write that the US "must 
withdraw from the peace process."

"We want to deal with President Abbas," Mofaz 
said after meeting with Condoleezza Rice, the 
then-US Secretary of State, before going to the 
White House to confer with Stephen Hadley, the then-national security adviser.

"We are waiting to see how the Palestinian 
Authority will deal with terrorist groups," the Israeli minister said.

The Palestine Papers appear to reveal two primary 
motives for the Palestinian Authority’s 
collaboration with Israel and their crackdown on dissent.

Firstly, it serves to maintain the movement’s 
political supremacy at a time when it is being 
questioned. Secondly, it is an attempt to signal 
to the US that it wants to remain a trusted 
partner in peace talks, regardless the costs.

Saeb Erekat, the PA’s chief negotiator 
acknowledged the cost of gaining US approval and 
Israeli trust, in 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/4827>a 
meeting on September 17, 2009 with David Hale, the deputy US Middle East envoy.

Erekat: We have had to kill Palestinians to 
establish one authority, one gun and the rule of 
law. We continue to perform our obligations. We 
have invested time and effort and killed our own 
people to maintain order and the rule of law.

It is not clear as to which killings Erekat is 
referring to but the discussion about the plan to 
kill al-Madhoun is just one example of how, since 
the death of Yasser Arafat, Fatah’s policy of 
resistance to Israel has become one of collaboration.

The Palestine Papers show how the Al Aqsa 
Martyr’s Brigade, once the spearhead of action 
against the Israeli occupation, has been 
transformed into a body that helps maintaining it.

During the 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/2312>Annapolis 
talks in 2008, Ahmed Qurei, the former 
Palestinian prime minister also known as Abu Ala, 
and his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni, 
discussed collaboration between the brigade and the Israeli security forces.

“Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade is part of the Fatah 
movement and they agreed to be part of the 
current security apparatus, even though this was 
not my position when I was a prime minister. I 
wanted the Brigade to remain as it was to confront Hamas,” Qurei told Livni.

With the common goal of destroying Hamas, the 
Palestine Papers reveal the extent to which the 
PA, the US and Israel were willing to work 
together, and the extent to which the PA 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/2769>linked 
the fate of Hamas with its own political survival.

“[
] reaching an agreement is a matter of 
survival for us. It’s the way to defeat Hamas,” 
Erekat told Marc Otte, the EU negotiator, in June 2008.

Earlier that year, 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/2304>on 
January 22, Qurei told Livni; “We’ll defeat Hamas 
if we reach an agreement, and this will be our 
response to their claim that gaining back our 
land can be achieved through resistance only.”
  **********************************************************
http://english.aljazeera.net/palestinepapers/2011/01/201112511595595810.html

Erekat: "I can't stand Hamas"

For Fatah, the Annapolis process seems to have 
been as much about crushing Hamas as about ending Israel's occupation.
Laila Al-Arian Last Modified: 25 Jan 2011 19:35 GMT

The Annapolis process was meant to be a round of 
peace talks aimed at reaching an agreement to 
solve the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli 
conflict. But instead of focusing on resolving 
the core issues at hand, why did Palestinian 
negotiators spend so much time during the 
meetings denigrating their political rivals, Hamas?


Controlling the mosques

The Palestine Papers reveal that Fatah was 
obsessed with maintaining political supremacy 
over Hamas, with Israel’s cooperation, especially 
following the 2006 electoral victory of the 
Islamist movement. Documents obtained by Al 
Jazeera also show the extent to which the 
Palestinian Authority cracked down on Hamas 
institutions to weaken the group and strengthen 
its own relationship with Israel.

At the height of negotiations, on April 7, 2008, 
Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni was 
unequivocal in summing up Israel’s policy: “Our 
strategic view is to strengthen you and weaken Hamas.”

Working with Israel to weaken Hamas also appeared 
to be in the Palestinian Authority’s interest. 
During a 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/2520>May 
6, 2008 security meeting between Yoav Mordechai, 
the head of the Israeli army civil administration 
in the West Bank, and Hazem Atallah, the head of 
the Palestinian Civil Police, Hamas was a prominent subject of discussion.

Yoav Mordechai: How is your fight against 
“civilian” Hamas: the officers, people in 
municipalities, etc. This is a serious threat.

Hazem Atallah: I don’t work at the political 
level, but I agree we need to deal with this.

Yoav Mordechai: Hamas needs to be declared 
illegal by your President. So far it is only the militants that are illegal.

Atallah: There is also the request for tear gas 
canisters. You previously gave us these back in 96.”

Yoav Mordechai: We gave some to you for Balata 2 
weeks ago. What do you need them for?

Atallah: Riot control. We want to avoid a 
situation where the security agencies may be 
forced to fire on unarmed civilians.

Never mind that tear gas canisters have proven 
that 
<http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/20111265223661981.html>they 
can be just as deadly as live bullet rounds, the 
exchange also foreshadows a crackdown on Hamas’ 
social institutions in the West Bank.

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat made his 
contempt for his rivals known in 2007, when he 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/5177>told 
the Belgian foreign minister Karel de Gucht, “I 
can’t stand Hamas or their social programs.”


"The way to defeat Hamas"

By September 17, 2009, Erekat 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/4827>was 
bragging to U.S. officials that the PA had 
complete control over “zakat” committees, or 
Muslim charities, in the West Bank, as well as the weekly Friday sermons.


Related

<http://english.aljazeera.net/palestinepapers/2011/01/201112512459777415.html>Qurei 
to Israel: "Occupy the crossing"

Top PA negotiator offers to allow Israel to 
reoccupy the Philadelphi corridor on the Gaza-Egypt border.

<http://english.aljazeera.net/palestinepapers/2011/01/2011125144345427365.html>Ali 
Abunimah: Cutting off a vital connection

Palestinian officials were often more concerned 
with applying pressure to Hamas than easing a humanitarian crisis.

“We have invested time and effort and even killed 
our own people to maintain order and the rule of 
law,” Erekat said. “The Prime Minister is doing 
everything possible to build the institutions. We 
are not a country yet but we are the only ones in 
the Arab world who control the Zakat and the 
sermons in the mosques. We are getting our act together.”

In 2007, Reuters 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL059215920070706>reported 
that Fatah was “increasing pressure on ‘zakat’ 
charity committees that support the network of 
Islamic schools and health clinics which helped 
fuel Hamas's rise to power.” On one occasion, the 
news service reported, 20 gunmen stormed a dairy 
funded by such a zakat committee but were ultimately persuaded to leave.

At the time, Akram al-Rajoub, who headed the 
Preventive Security service in Nablus said, 
“There is absolutely no cooperation with Israel 
in our activities" but that claim is belied by 
the conversations documented in The Palestine Papers.

On February 11, 2008, Atallah 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/2324>presented 
the Israelis with a laundry list of actions the 
PA took against Hamas, and complained that 
Israeli actions in the West Bank city of Nablus 
the previous month were harmful. He was likely 
<http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/01/2008525135941444137.html>referring 
to the three-day incursion by the Israeli 
military, in which 40 Palestinians were injured 
and 20 detained. 70,000 residents of the city were placed under curfew.

“We made arrests, confiscated arms, and sacked 
security individuals affiliated with Hamas,” 
Atallah said, “but you keep on deterring our 
efforts, and this is what’s happening in Nablus.”

While security cooperation against Hamas and its 
institutions dominated some meetings, often 
Palestinian negotiators merely wanted to vent to 
their Israeli counterparts about their 
deep-seated desire to defeat their political opponents.

“Hamas must not feel that it is achieving daily 
victories, sometimes with Israel and sometimes 
with Egypt, and Al Jazeera Channel praises these 
victories,” Ahmed Qurei, a senior Palestinian 
negotiator, told Livni on February 4, 2008.

“I hope Hamas will be defeated, not military I 
mean because we didn’t try this; we didn’t engage 
in a civil war. President Abu Mazen was wise 
enough not to give orders to Fateh members to use 
arms, otherwise, we’d have had many casualties.”

According to the Palestine Papers, for Fatah, the 
Annapolis process seems to have been as much 
about crushing Hamas as it was about ending 
Israel’s occupation and establishing an independent, Palestinian state.

“We continue with a genuine process,” Saeb Erekat 
confided to European Union Special Representative 
Marc Otte 
<http://transparency.aljazeera.net/document/2769>on 
June 18, 2008, “reaching an agreement is a matter 
of survival for us. It’s the way to defeat Hamas.”





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