WikiLeaks cable: Shin Bet chief called Palestinian counterpart 'psychopath'
Newly released cables from 2007 reveal what Diskin thought of 'desperate' situation in Gaza and West Bank, lack of Palestinian leadership and 'psychopath' Palestinian counterpart. He also shares concerns over 'last legs' Fatah and ill-boding situation
He noted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was "incapable of leading the Palestinians in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," and called his then Palestinian counterpart Tawfik Tirawi "psychopathic and cruel."
The cable which summarizes a meeting between the then US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones and Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin in June 2007, states that Diskin "shared his assessment of the current situation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, painting a picture of a desperate, disorganized, and demoralized Fatah in the Gaza Strip, versus a well-organized and ascendant Hamas."
While he didn't foresee the coup that occurred days later, he expressed his opposition to arming forces within Fatah loyal to Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza, for fear that the weapons and equipment would end up in Hamas' hands. General Dayton had offered to arm forces loyal to Fatah and allow them to fight Hamas.
At the same meeting, Diskin said that Abbas views Fatah as weak and "on its last legs," incapable of being rehabilitated within six months. He added that the Palestinian president was beginning to be a problem for Israel.
"He's a paradox. He cannot function and do anything. Why is Fatah failing? Because Abbas has become the 'good guy' whom everyone is trying to do everything for in order to keep him alive.
"Everyone is afraid of the alternative, and yet Abbas is already talking about how he plans to retire from the political scene after his term ends in 2008. He knows he is weak and that he has failed. He has failed to rehabilitate Fatah. He did not start to take any action when he had the chance in 2004. Instead of choosing to be the leader for Fatah, he chose to be a national leader for all Palestinians," Diskin said.
During the meeting with Ambassador Jones, Diskin discussed improving security cooperation with Egypt over the smuggling tunnels to Gaza. Diskin said the Egyptians "react on the intelligence that we provide to them, but they are not proactive." He also praised the cooperation between Shin Bet and Palestinian security forces in the war on terror.
Diskin also presented a sad picture of the future of the Palestinian leadership. He classified Abbas' potential successors as incapable of leading. He expressed harsh criticism of Mohammad Dahlan for "trying to manage Fatah's security forces by remote control." Diskin said that Fatah is on its "last legs," and that the situation bodes ill for Israel.
Continuing his criticism of Dahlan, Diskin said "We are not even sure where he is. Fatah is in very bad shape in the Gaza Strip. We have received requests to train their forces in Egypt and Yemen.
"We would like them to get the training they need, and to be more powerful, but they do not have anyone to lead them," he said.
Diskin also made clear his reservations on training Palestinians in a country like Yemen with a strong Al-Qaeda presence.
Diskin said that Dahlan could lead Gaza but not the West Bank and that Marwan Barghouti could lead the West Bank but not Gaza. "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."
Diskin noted that "they are approaching a zero-sum situation, and yet they ask us to attack Hamas. This is a new development. We have never seen this before. They are desperate."
Diskin was full of praise for the Palestinian security services, saying that they cooperated with Shin bet and shared almost all the intelligence it collects. "They understand that Israel's security is central to their survival in the struggle with Hamas in the West Bank."
Meanwhile, Diskin was not so complementary of "psychopathic and cruel" Tawfik Tirawi, adding that he was "dangerous and prone to extreme mood swings." He also said that he hoped to meet with Tirawi to dissuade him from "doing stupid things, like trying to develop ties with the Dughmush family in the Gaza Strip."
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook