A former senior Palestinian security official has revealed that around 25 per cent of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are there as a direct result of collaboration between the Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces. Fahmi Shabaneh mocked calls by the PA and Fatah to free Palestinian prisoners, calling the Palestinian leadership represented by Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah's Central Committee "trivial".
"Those within the Palestinian leadership of the PA who compete with each other to condemn the Israeli occupation and call for the liberation of Palestinian prisoners," said Mr Shabaneh, "ignore the fact that many are in prison as a result of security collaboration with the self-same occupation."
It is thanks to such collaboration, or cooperation as the PA prefers to call it, added Shabaneh, that the Israelis were able to announce a while back that the number of "wanted" Palestinians "is zero".
"Oppressed Palestinians are completely persuaded that the PA is no more a national authority," said Shabaneh, although he draws the line at describing its "treason" in the same breath as that of the client South Lebanese Army used by Israel a few years ago. "The SLA soldiers," he noted drily, "did not hand over their fellow citizens to be detained in Israeli jails."
The ex-security official warned the Palestinian leadership that it will reap what it has sown. "They will face disappointment and failure; they will lose their land and holy places; and they will lose their honour," he said. "The time for justice and holding the PA to account is fast approaching."
Fahmi Shabaneh held many very sensitive positions in the Palestinian General Intelligence agency from 1993 until 2006 when he defected. During this period he collected many files on corruption within the PA. When he left the Authority, he released a video showing a senior PA official in a compromising situation; the official resigned and Shabaneh faced a huge campaign attempting to defame him.