The Norwegian daily Aftenposten has been posting a lot of new Wikileaks material. In there is this cable from 26 July, 2007– just a few weeks after the elected Hamas leaders of Gaza rebuffed a U.S.-backed coup attempt led by Fateh strongman Mohamed Dahlan. It’s a record by a U.S. diplo in Tel Aviv of a meeting that GWB aide Fran Fragos Townsend had with Israeli National Security Council officials on July 12.
The main Israeli interlocutor was Brigadier General Danny Arditi, a counterterrorism advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In the cable:
- Arditi said that sooner or later the GOI [Government of Israel] would have to deal with Hamas.
In the meantime, however, Arditi and Townsend were in agreement that they wanted to continue the long, slow strangling of Gaza that had continued since Hamas’s electoral victory in January 2006– and that continues to this day.
The reporting diplomat also wrote:
- Arditis presentation represented an attempt by the Government of Israel (GOI) to find a way forward in dealing with Hamas-controlled Gaza, but NSC officials admitted that the GOI does not yet have a coherent policy. The Gaza/West Bank split appears simple on the surface, said an aide to Arditi, but carries many inherent contradictions. “This is not the first time we have tried to help Fatah,” he noted. NSC officials told Townsend that the Israeli Cabinet remains concerned about Hamas influence in the West Bank, and many are skeptical about the ability of Abbas and Fayyad to “turn back the wheel.”