Wikileaks: Shabak Told U.S. Hamas Wouldn’t Take Over Gaza

There seems to be a meme among a certain conspiracy minded portion of the left that the Israeli government has colluded with Wikileaks to reveal information that casts Israel’s enemies in a derogatory light and casts no aspersions on Israel.  According to this theory, Julian Assange is in the Mossad’s pocket and made a deal with them to go lightly on Israel.  Frankly, I don’t buy it mainly because there IS damaging information among the Wikileaks cables about Israel.  I’ve already written two posts detailing such material.  In my report yesterday on the Israeli TV story on Israeli sabotage of Iran the segment referred to another cable in which the Mossad’s Meir Dagan advocated to senior State Department official, Nicholas Burns, that the U.S. join Israel in fomenting regime change in Iran.

Tonight, I’m going to report on a cable that is unflattering toward Yuval Diskin, the Shabak’s soon to be outgoing director (we’ve named his replacement here, though the name is under wraps within Israel and pretty much everywhere else).  In a June, 2007 meeting between Diskin and then U.S. ambassador Richard Jones, Diskin conceded that Fatah was in a shambles and Hamas ascendant, but added:

Speaking before the dramatic events of June 12-13 in Gaza, Diskin qualified that Hamas is currently not in a position to completely destroy Fatah. Diskin said that he opposes USSC LTG [Keith] Dayton’s proposal to equip security forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Fatah, as he is concerned that the provisions will end up in the hands of Hamas.

…The difference, he explained, is between the “quality” of Hamas, and the “quantity” of Fatah’s security apparatus that is loyal to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas. Hamas is dominant in most areas. In the Gaza Strip, it can win every fight with Fatah, but Fatah can do it harm in its “chaotic” way of fighting. Diskin said that some Fatah members are being paid by National Security Advisor Muhammad Dahlan, while others are being paid by Abbas

Only one day after this meeting, Hamas did precisely what Diskin said was unlikely, obliterating Fatah power in Gaza and taking control of the enclave. Later in the cable, Diskin reveals that forces loyal to Mohammed Dahlan, the Fatah strongman in Gaza, were so desperate they were asking Israel to attack Hamas on their behalf!  You’ll note also that Shabak opposes the one U.S. security initiative that most observers say has immensely improved security in the West Bank.  If Diskin had anything to say about it, it wouldn’t have happened and the West Bank would likely be even more chaotic than it was then.

Diskin praised Israel’s relationship with the Palestinian security services on the West Bank but added this strange addendum:

They understand that Israel’s security is central to their survival in the struggle with Hamas in the West Bank…

This is how he described the leader of one of the two main West Bank security organizations:

…Psychopathic, cruel, dangerous and prone to extreme mood swings…Diskin said that he hopes to meet with Tirawi the week of June 17 to dissuade him from “doing stupid things…”

Sounds about right for a Fatah security officer. And he wasn’t even describing Dahlan!

This nifty piece of racist nonsense about sums up the level of “expertise” the Shabak brings to bear in its “intelligence analyses:”

Diskin lamented that the current situation suggests that nobody can now assume leadership of Fatah. Dahlan, he said, can only lead in the Gaza Strip — if that — and Marwan Barghouti can lead in the West Bank, but not the Gaza Strip. “It is something in their blood,” he said, “the leaders of the West Bank cannot rule the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and vice versa.”

How would he know? Has Israel even allowed Barghouti the opportunity to run in an election?

Contrast this level of Israeli intelligence with that of the IDF, whose chief, Amos Yadlin correctly predicted a Hamas victory in a Gaza “shoot-out.” One caveat, Yadlin was speaking to Ambassador Jones one day after Diskin, and in the middle of the turmoil in Gaza. But here is what Yadlin said:

Yadlin said the IDI has been predicting armed confrontation in Gaza between Hamas and Fatah since Hamas won the January 2006 legislative council elections. Yadlin felt that the Hamas military wing had initiated the current escalation with the tacit consent of external Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, adding that he did not believe there had been a premeditated political-level decision by Hamas to wipe out Fatah in Gaza. Yadlin dismissed Fatah’s capabilities in Gaza, saying Hamas could have taken over there any time it wanted for the past year…Although not necessarily reflecting a GOI consensus view, Yadlin said Israel would be “happy” if Hamas took over Gaza because the IDF could then deal with Gaza as a hostile state. He dismissed the significance of an Iranian role in a Hamas-controlled Gaza “as long as they don’t have a port.”

…Yadlin described Gaza as “not Israel’s main problem,” noting that it ranked fourth in his hierarchy of threats, behind Iran, Syria, and Hizballah.

In light of subsequent developments, this is very interesting. You have the head of Israeli military intelligence saying Hamas is Israel’s best “friend.”  Is it any wonder that Israel has consistently demonized Hamas since 2006 and treated it as if it was a combination of Jack the Ripper and Typhoid Mary? Is it any wonder that Israel went to war only two years later with a force which the IDF’s chief spook said wasn’t anywhere his list of top threats to the nation? Nothing justifies Israel’s continuing Occupation and maintenance of the cursed status quo more than a Hamas bogeyman.

Further, Yadlin’s statement that Iran’s role in Gaza does not overly worry him flies the face of Bibi’ invocation of “Hamastan” and his portrayal of the Islamist movement as Iran’s alleged proxy.

What is curiously missing from discussions described in these cables is any mention of the planned coup fomented by State Department staffers David Welch and Eliott Abrams during meetings with Mahmoud Abbas.  From these cables, it appears Fatah couldn’t have engineered a coup that commanded control of Gaza even if it wanted to.

In these cables, we see the Israeli intelligence élite at their most candid and relatively truthful. These statements put the lie to the mendacious public statements made by Bibi, the political echelon and the generals which whip up fear and loathing against Israel’s ‘existential’ enemies and threaten a future national Holocaust without further draconian action.

This article was originally published at Tikun Olam and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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