'Israel, PA plotted murder of Fatah terrorist'
Secret memos leaked to Al-Jazeera reveal that in summer of 2005 then-Defense Minister Mofaz urged PA minister to kill senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades commander Al-Madhoun, who was behind death of 20 Israelis. Minister replied, 'Our capabilities are limited.' Terrorist was killed a few months later by Israeli missile
In November 2005 Israel and Palestinian security services plotted to assassinate a senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades commander who was held responsible by Israel for a suicide attack in Ashdod which left 10 people dead, according to secret documents revealed by Al-Jazeera and the Guardian Tuesday.
Al-Madhoun was directly responsible for the death of 20 Israelis. The Fatah-linked Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades insisted on continuing the armed struggle against Israel and rejected the Palestinian leadership's peace efforts in the post-Yasser Arafat era.
According to the leaked documents from the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, then-Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz asked the Palestinian Authority's interior minister, Nasser Youssef, to kill Madhoun, who was 32 at the time.
"We know his address ... Why don't you kill him?" Mofaz told the PA minister during a meeting in Tel Aviv in the summer of 2005. Yousef said the orders to kill the al-Aqsa commander had already been given, but a short while later he added, "The environment is not easy, our capabilities are limited."
Mofaz said Madhoun was planning another terror attack atone of the crossings on the Israel-Gaza border.
Israel killed Madhoun a few months later in a drone missile attack on his car in Gaza. The secret documents do not reveal and proof that directly links the PA to Madhoun's death, but Al-Jazeera claims the documents show Israelis and Palestinian security services were working in close cooperation.
Fatah's influence in Gaza decreased following Israel's unilateral disengagement from the coastal enclave and Hamas' violent takeover of the territory in 2007. According to the secret memos, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told the US security coordinator, Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, that co-operation with his Palestinian counterparts against Hamas had been "useless" due to the weakened position of strongman Mohammed Dahlan and Tawfiq Tirawi, head of Palestinian general intelligence
"We have to do the most to help Fatah," Diskin said.
The documents indicate that Israel's approach was to urge the PA to arrest or kill wanted people but to act itself if it did not. In one meeting Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli defense official, named a suspect and said: "We gave the name to Dahlan and he refused to act. So we took him by force."
By 2008, according to the memos, Israeli leaders were much more confident about co-operation from PA security services. "In the West Bank," then-foreign minister, Tzipi Livni said in March 2008, "the situation is more under control due to the fact that we are there ... and working together."
In September 2009, PA official Saeb Erekat told US official David Hale: "We have had to kill Palestinians to establish one authority, one gun and the rule of law. We have even killed our own people to maintain order and the rule of law."
Earlier that year, the PA had reported privately to George Mitchell the extent of its crackdown on Hamas and others in the West Bank: 3,700 "members of armed groups" had been arrested: 4,700 individuals had been "summoned for questioning" and more than 1,100 weapons had been confiscated.
Elior Levy, Jonathan Weber contributed to the report
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