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Palestinians 'sided against Hamas'

A cable released by WikiLeaks yesterday suggested close cooperation between Israel and forces loyal to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when militants from the rival Hamas group overran the Gaza Strip three years ago.

The disclosure could embarrass Mr Abbas and his Fatah movement, which Hamas has accused of working with the Israelis. Mr Abbas's standing among Palestinians has already been weakened by his failure to make progress in peacemaking with Israel.



The cable, dated 13 June 2007, from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, quoting a conversation during the civil war that ended with Hamas's takeover of Gaza, cites Israeli Security Agency chief Yuval Diskin as saying Israel had "established a very good working relationship" with two branches of the Palestinian security service. Mr Abbas's internal security agency, he said, "shares with ISA almost all the intelligence that it collects".



Palestinians have a complex relationship with Israel, pursuing peace talks on the one hand but considering it an enemy on the other, because of its occupation of the West Bank and its settlements there. Collaboration with Israeli security is seen as an onerous offence.



An official with Mr Abbas's government played down the information in the newly released cable, saying: "Information-sharing between us and Israel is limited to field information that serves our security and the interests of our people."

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