'Palestinian Authority Closely Coordinating Security Operations With Israel'

New Palestine papers documents released Tuesday detail meetings discussing security measures, including instructions to kill Hamas militants.

The Qatar-based Al Jazeera television revealed Tuesday extensive cooperation between Israel's security services and those of the Palestinian Authority.

The so-called 'Palestine papers,' leaked documents on Middle East negotiations, revealed that Israel and the PA held various meetings on security issues. One document details how Israel and the PA planned together an assassination of a commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

madhoun - AP - March 22 2006

Like the other documents released by Al-Jazeera in the last two days, these documents did not reveal anything especially new. Rather, it would appear to be another attempt by the television network to embarrass the Palestinian Authority.

Al-Jazeera and the Guardian began revealing on Sunday some of what they say are more than 1,600 documents detailing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In the documents that were released thus far, it was revealed that the PA was willing to make great compromises in order to reach a final status deal with Israel, including over sovereignty in East Jerusalem and on Palestinian refugees' right of return.

According to one document released Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad opposed the opening of Gaza's border crossings, fearing that this would be interpreted as a victor for Hamas, who rules the Gaza Strip. Another document revealed that the Palestinian Authority considered a British proposal for dealing with the smuggling tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border.

In one of the security coordination meetings between Israel and the PA described in the documents, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat describes the Palestinian Authority as the only Arab regime which exerts control over the speeches made in mosques and Muslim charitable organizations.

Erekat added that the PA was forced to kill their "own people" in order to prove that it was establishing law and order in territories under its control. Erekat was referring in this instance to an incident in Qalqilyah in which Palestinian police killed six Hamas members, and in which two of the police officers were killed in the firefight.

One of the documents quotes Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) apparently hinting to former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that Israel should control the Philadelphi Corridor, where there are smuggling tunnels in operation between Gaza and Egypt. Abu Ala is supposed to have said that if Israel captured the West Bank, it can capture the Philadelphi Corridor as well.

Other documents reveal that former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz reportedly demanded in 2005 that Hassan al-Madhoun, an operative of the military wing of Hamas, be assassinated. Then-interior minister of the Palestinian Authority Nasser Yusuf apparently replied that orders were given to the PA chief of security in Gaza at that time, Rashid Abu Shabak, to take care of the matter.

Al-Madhoun was later killed by an Israeli bomb attack.

It was also revealed that Israel consented to the establishment of a special unit of the Palestinian security forces to battle terrorists, and that they would receive special advanced weaponry.

One document details a meeting between U.S. Army Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, who until only a few months ago trained new security forces of the Palestinian Authority, and Saeb Erekat. At the meeting, Dayton told Erekat that he wanted to start training the Palestinian forces in anti-terror battle tactics, and that IDF officers agreed that it was an appropriate next step.

At the meeting, Erekat tried to convince Dayton to exert influence on the leaders of Israel's security forces to minimize IDF entries into Palestinian cities in order to make arrests. Erekat said that this issue was more pressing that the issue of advanced training and weaponry, so that the Palestinian forces could maintain their credibility among their people.

Dayton apparently promised Erekat to try to arrange an agreement whereby Israeli entries into Palestinian cities would only occur under cover of night – an arrangement which is essentially in effect until today.