Tuesday, February 24, 2009
05:50 Mecca time, 02:50 GMT
News Middle East
Hamas: Fatah helped Israel in war
Fatah accuses Hamas of trying to derail Palestinian reconciliation talks [AFP]
Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have locked horns, with
accusations of spying for Israel and trying to derail inter-factional
The spat comes ahead of "reconciliation talks" between the factions scheduled
to take place in Egypt on Wednesday. Hamas
on Monday accused Fatah of spying for Israel during Israel's three-week
offensive against the Gaza Strip in December and January, and released
videos of alleged confessions by men they claim were from Fatah.
It said the Israelis were able to do massive damage and hit targets
with such precision because of inside information from what Hamas said
were "Fatah collaborators".
Hamas security official alleged that Fatah agents had passed sensitive
information, including using Google Earth to pinpoint targets in the
Gaza Strip, to the Palestinian Authority, who then passed it on to the
Israeli air force.
"With the help of the Google Earth programme, those groups prepared
maps to localise mosques, institutions, tunnels or workshops," said Abu
Abdallah, a senior intelligence officer in the Hamas movement which
rules the Gaza Strip.
He said the information included plans of the home of Ismail Haniya,
the Hamas leader deposed as prime minister, as well as the location of
tunnels and weapons caches.
A spokesman for the Hamas's interior ministry told a news conference that the
video contained real confessions, not propaganda.
"We have this information. It is not lies," said Ihab al-Ghossein. "We have
these people and everybody saw these people today."
Fatah dismissed Hamas's allegations as propaganda and accused its
rival of trying to derail efforts at reconciliation through a media
Hamas says it has video footage of Fatah "collaborators" [AFP]
Yasir Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation
Organisation executive committee, said the Hamas media campaign was
aimed at disrupting the internal Palestinian dialogue.
"This is part of a plan being carried out by Hamas leadership in
Damascus to push back the Cairo dialogue," he said, referring to talks
involving several Palestinian factions being hosted by Egypt on
A similar bid for reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas last
November failed following reports that Hamas would not be present at
the meeting in Egypt.
Fatah, the main faction in the Palestinian Authority, has been
locked in a power struggle with Hamas in the Palestinian territories, a
rivalry that was deepened in June 2007 when Hamas forces routed forces
loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and Fatah chief.
Hamas has run Gaza ever since, with Abbas's Western-backed Palestinian
Authority governing the West Bank.
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