Hamas Claims It Discovered Israeli-Linked Spies in the Palestinian Authority

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Hamas Claims It Discovered Israeli-Linked Spies in the Palestinian Authority

Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, house after it was struck by the IDF. Click to see full-size image

On December 29th, Hamas claimed that it had discovered a network of Israeli-linked individuals in the Palestinian Authority.

Allegedly these individuals assisted the Israeli security and special services in assassinations.

Namely, these individuals provided information to Israel for the targeted killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata on November 12th.

The PA cell, the statement said, was taking orders from Col. Shaaban Abdullah Algharbawi, who is responsible for the PA’s intelligence in the Gaza Strip.

Algharbawi is based in Ramallah, but Hamas claims that he directs Gazans to collect intelligence within the Strip on behalf of the PA. The statement added that Algharbawi transferred the information his people collected directly to Israeli intelligence officials.

A video released by the ministry alleged that there were six PA intelligence officers under Gharbawi’s command. It also stated that Gharbawi resides in Ramallah, suggesting that he was not in its custody.

The footage included a recording of what the ministry alleged was a phone call about Abu al-Ata between Gharbawi and a Shin Bet security service agent named “Berri.”

In its statement, the ministry claimed that the security forces confiscated “technical materials” that confirm Gharbawi gave Shin Bet officers information about “the resistance’s abilities, plans and the movements of its members and leaders.”

The statement said that though Israel was directly responsible for Ata’s killing, the information provided by Algharbawi’s cell contributed significantly to the operation.

Fatah, the party that dominates the PA, claimed that the allegations are false. It claimed that the ministry’s allegations are “baseless lies aimed at covering up the secret understandings between Hamas and Israel.”

“This is a theater performance that has been woven together by Hamas’s delusions,” Fatah said in a statement.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior PA official, also responded to the allegations, insinuating that Hamas helped Israel kill Abu al-Ata.

He tweeted that Hamas “sold out the blood of Abu al-Ata” to achieve the understandings with Israel.

On the previous day, Hamas released different statement, calling for the Palestinian Authority to stop security coordination with Israel, as it continues advanced negotiations with the Israeli government, through Egyptian and Qatari mediation, to reach a long-term truce agreement.

The statement came in response to a plan by the Israeli Defense Minister, Naftali Bennett, to allow settlers to register lands in Area C, which the PA considered an attempt to cover up Hamas’ negotiations with Israel.

An unnamed Palestinian official also pointed to the statements of Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, in which he said that Hamas’ main concern was to improve the welfare of the residents of the Gaza Strip, and there was a strong desire by the movement not to escalate the situation and instead consolidate calm.

It should be noted that all of these reports are coming from Israeli media, and it is not out of the question that they are, to a large extent, simply propaganda and most of the claims should be taken with a grain of salt.

If these reports are entirely true, however, it shows that Hamas and the PA have strictly differing views on the course of action that should be taken in securing a stable future for Palestinians.

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