Israeli intel: Palestinian Authority cooperation on insurgents has dried up

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JERUSALEM — Israel’s intelligence community has determined a sharp decline in security cooperation by the Palestinian Authority.

Officials said the PA has become increasingly unresponsive to Israeli requests for security cooperation, particularly in the area of counter-insurgency.

Israeli soldiers leave after an operation near the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah.
Israeli soldiers leave after an operation near the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah.

The officials said the Israel Security Agency received almost no hard intelligence from the PA regarding insurgency operations, particularly from those linked to the ruling Fatah movement.

“They will not say ‘We won’t cooperate,'” an official said. “They will simply tell us, ‘We have nothing on this.’ ”

Officials said the only security issue in which the PA continued to cooperate was that of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has become convinced that Hamas or its Iranian proxy was seeking to overthrow the Fatah-led regime in Ramallah.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said the intelligence assessment on the PA has been relayed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The newspaper said Netanyahu’s aides have asserted that virtually all CI operations in the West Bank were conducted by ISA and the Israel Army.

“Today, the Prime Minister’s Office maintains, 99 percent of the
security work of collecting intelligence, thwarting attacks and preventive
detention in the territories is carried out by our security forces,” Haaretz
said in a report on Feb. 7. “Around one percent is carried out by Abu
Mazen’s [Abbas] men.”

The decline in PA cooperation was said to have included the Preventive
Security Apparatus, deemed the leading domestic intelligence agency in the
West Bank. The founder of PSA, Jibril Rajoub, regarded as close to Abbas,
has been calling for another war against Israel. Jibril has been joined by
another former security commander, Tawfiq Tirawi, founder of the General
Intelligence Services.

“In recent months, a growing number of top Fatah officials such as
Jibril Rajoub, Tawfiq Tirawi and Mahmoud Al Alou — all members of the
Fatah Central Committee — have publicly come out in favor of a return to an
‘armed struggle’ against Israel,” Israeli analyst Khaled Abu Toameh, a
fellow at the U.S.-based Gatestone Institute, said. “Rajoub and Tirawi are
former commanders of the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank and
are considered close allies of Abbas. Al Aloul, who is also closely
associated with Abbas, is a former governor of the West Bank’s largest city,

The Israeli intelligence assessment said PA cooperation appeared to
reflect the extent of pressure by the United States. Since 2005, Washington
has been operating a security mission meant to encourage Israeli-PA
cooperation as well as the development of Palestinian security forces in the
West Bank.

“The U.S. pressure on the PA has been reserved only when they
[Washington] are convinced that the PA is needed to stop a major attack in
Israel,” the official said. “Otherwise, we are seeing a lot less interest
on the American side to make this an issue with the Palestinians.”

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