Palestinians renege on security ties with Israel, restore revolving door for terrorists
For the first time since 2006, the Palestinian Authority’s security services on the West Bank have stopped cooperating with the IDF in operations and intelligence-sharing for countering terrorism. The arrest and interrogation of suspects, the most effective measure for thwarting terrorist plots, are discontinued: Palestinian security officers invite suspects for conversation, then send them home, contrary to every explicit guarantee the Palestinian Authority and its head, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has given Israel and the US officers building up Palestinian Authority units.
A senior Israeli intelligence source engaged directly in counterterrorism told debkafile Thursday, May 3, that, in response to the Palestinian Authority’s failure to stand by its commitments, Israel has upped the terror alert level in Judea and Samaria, as well as along the Israel-West Bank boundary. Israeli security officials believe it is just a matter of time before Palestinian extremists go back to their old terrorist tactics against Israel.
Until a few weeks ago, Palestinian security authorities were still willing to cooperate with Israel and Western officials working alongside them to prevent “hot attacks” – i.e., plots close to execution. But in recent days, Ramallah has discontinued even that modicum of collaboration.
debkafile’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources say that Washington and Jerusalem have no doubt that the Palestinian Authority would not have taken this crucial step without the approval of its chairman, Abbas.
American officials who taxed him on this received a flat denial and a promise to check with Gen. Abu Dohan, Palestinian Security Forces chief, and come back with answers. This he failed to do.
There is another troubling symptom of Palestinian backtracking on its war on terror: They have not only stopped arresting suspects of plotting terror attacks, they are opening the doors of their prisons to let detainees go free. This is being done gradually so as not to draw the attention of Israel and US security and intelligence services.
The old Palestinian revolving door policy is back for terrorists at police holding cells and detention facilities for which Yasser Arafat was notorious during the uprising of 2000-2004.
Palestinian sources deny that Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal reached any understandings when they met in Cairo Wednesday, May 2. But Israel does not believe this is true. In fact Israeli intelligence sources told debkafile that misinformation about the meeting was disseminated as a smokescreen to deceive Israeli and Western officials.
The truth, said one source, is that “Abu Mazen and Meshal are developing a special relationship very similar to the one that existed in the early 2000’s between Yasser Arafat and the Hamas founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.” They were consistently at odds on ideology but in complete agreement on a policy of violence and terrorism against Israel.