Fresh papers allege MI6 helped to target Hamas

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The Independent Online

Britain's intelligence service, MI6, drew up plans to help the Palestinian Authority put down Islamist movement Hamas and armed groups in the West Bank, leaked documents reveal.

The papers – part of nearly 1,700 transcripts and emails leaked to Arab TV channel Al Jazeera documenting more than a decade of Israeli-Palestinian talks – shed light on a little-reported role played by British security services in shoring up the PA's security apparatus.

Documents from 2005 also reveal that the British government funded the PA security forces, including the shadowy preventive security wing, which has attracted controversy over torture allegations.

The papers go on to detail an MI6 strategy proposal, aimed at disrupting the operations of armed militant groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The security services proposed tampering with communications and sources of funding, while also recommending the internment of high-ranking militants.

US General Keith Dayton, who played an instrumental role in training Palestinian security forces until last October, also voiced concerns over PA-led torture, according to the leaked papers. "The intelligence guys are good. The Israelis like them," Gen Dayton is quoted as saying. "But they are causing some problems for international donors because they are torturing people."

Another document records a 2005 exchange between Israeli and Palestinian officials, where Israel's then defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, asks for Palestinian assistance in killing a known militant in Gaza. The Palestinians demur, and the militant is killed by an Israeli missile a few weeks later.