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Leaked cable: Israel consulted PA prior to Gaza war

Nov. 28, 2010 9:59 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 30, 2010 2:21 P.M.)
By Jared Malsin

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel approached the PA and Egypt about potentially assuming control of the Gaza Strip following a theoretical "defeat" of Hamas before Israel's winter war on Gaza, a leaked US diplomatic cable revealed Sunday.

Made public by The New York Times, the document is a report on a conversation between US Senator Bob Casey, Representative Gary Ackerman, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak from June 2009.

The cable is one of an unprecedented trove of more than a quarter million formerly classified US Embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks. The organization released the documents to several news organizations for publication Sunday.

In the report, US officials say that Barak explained, "GOI [Government Of Israel] had consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas.

"Not surprisingly, Barak said, the GOI received negative answers from both," the document states.

US spied on Hamas, PA

A separate cable, provided to The Guardian by the whistleblower group WikiLeaks, lays out a "national human intelligence collection directive" asking US personnel to obtain "Details of travel plans such as routes and vehicles used by Palestinian Authority leaders and HAMAS members."

The cable demands "[b]iographical, financial and biometric information on key PA and HAMAS leaders and representatives, to include the young guard inside Gaza, the West Bank and outside."

The document, related from the State Department in Washington to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, shows that the US sought extensive, detailed information on all aspects of governance, security, policies, attitudes and capabilities of both the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Hamas government in Gaza.

A representative passage of the lengthy cable directs personnel to gather information on: "Plans, intentions, key focus and rivalries of senior PA security force officials, including the General Intelligence Organization (Mukhabarat), the Preventive Security Organization (PSO), Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat), the National Security Force (NSF), and the Civil Police, as well as HAMAS's Security Support Force in the Gaza strip."

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