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Palestinian negotiator aide arrested for 'collaborating' with Israel

Jan. 17, 2016 1:48 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 18, 2016 11:26 A.M.)
PA Security forces
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An employee with the Palestine Liberation Organization's negotiation affairs department has been detained on charges of "collaborating with Israel," a senior PLO official told Ma'an on Sunday.

The official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the man who was detained was an administrative employee who did not work with political affairs in the office.

"The detainee is not a member of the negotiation advisor and has never attended any negotiation team meetings, neither has he been involved in coordination with the Israelis at administrative level or other levels," the official said.

A high-ranking Palestinian security source, also speaking under the condition of anonymity, told Ma'an that Palestinian intelligence forces had made the arrest after finding that the employee was "collaborating with the enemy."

The sources said the suspect was detained in Ramallah, after being monitored for a "long period of time."

The employee who was detained had worked for the negotiations office for 20 years.

The suspect reportedly confessed to passing information on to Israeli authorities, but sources said the investigation is ongoing, as files are being prepared for court.

The source continued that Palestinian intelligence, legal, and political institutes are investigating their offices to estimate the damage caused by the suspect in order to evaluate the security breach, and to bring more potential evidence to the future court case being filed against the former employee.

Under Palestinian law, the suspect could face the death penalty if found guilty of working with Israel.

The incident is not the first security breach in the negotiations office.

In 2011, an administrative employee with the office leaked 1,600 internal documents from the Israel-Palestine negotiations from 1999-2010 to al-Jazeera news agency.

The leak, referred to as the "Palestine Papers," revealed that officials offered concessions to Israel in negotiations which were out of step with public policy and Palestinian public opinion concerning the right of Palestinian refugees to return from exile, the fate of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, and the borders of a Palestinian state.

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