Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

PA working to root out Hamas, Hezbollah secret agents

5 May 2009

By Amos Harel, Haaretz – 5 May 2009

The Palestinian Authority has established a special counter-intelligence squad in its security services to uncover agents working for Hamas and Hezbollah. To date the Palestinian Authority security services have arrested dozens of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with the two radical Islamic groups.

Israeli security sources said that the PA has made a focused effort to uncover foreign agents, noting that the new unit involves a large contingent of officers.

The new organization is part of a group of measures undertaken by the PA to counter Hamas . It is meant, among other things, to stanch information leaks from the various security groups in the PA to the Islamist groups, especially information about plans against them.

Some 18 months ago, the defense establishment in Israel began targeting the civil infrastructure of Hamas in the West Bank, which consists primarily of various philanthropic and social service networks.

However, several months later Israel passed on the handling of the containment effort to the PA, which continues to raid Hamas-run institutions and arrest its activists.

In Israel the claim is that the Palestinians are more effective in this role than the Israel Defense Forces or the Shin Bet security services would be.

One of the recent catches by PA security was a large data bank of a Hamas network in Nablus.

Israeli security sources have commended the level of coordination within the PA forces, and said the ties are becoming closer and more effective.

In the past, the relationship between the various PA security groups was characterized by enmity, with rival groupings working to counter each other’s influence. Israeli sources note that this has improved significantly.

A senior security source said PA security forces are operating in the West Bank in a manner that is “considerably better than at any time during the past 15 years,” marking the period since the Oslo B agreements went into effect and Israel transferred security responsibility for parts of the West Bank to the Palestinians.

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