Palestinian security agents who had been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank had been working closely with the CIA, reports said yesterday. Less than a year after US President Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited torture and provided for the lawful interrogation of detainees in US custody, The Guardian reported the CIA was co-operating with Palestinian security agents whose continuing use of torture had been widely documented by human rights groups. The relationship between the CIA and the two Palestinian agencies involved – Preventive Security Organisation and General Intelligence Service – was said by some Western diplomats and other officials in the region to be so close that the US agency appeared to be supervising the Palestinians’ work, the report said. One senior western official told the paper: “The agency considers them as their property, those two Palestinian services.”
Israeli offer would uproot Jewish settlers
James Hider, Jerusalem; 19/11/09
Ehud Olmert proposed a land swap with the Palestinians that would have involved uprooting tens of thousands of Jewish settlers from the West Bank and establishing boundaries that closely followed the route of Israel’s controversial security barrier. The former prime minister of Israel presented the plan to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but the Palestinians did not accept the deal, which would have annexed 6.3 per cent of the West Bank to Israel, in areas containing about 75 per cent of the Jewish settlement population. The new details of the plan, reported in the Haaretz newspaper, follow Mr Olmert’s exclusive interview in The Weekend Australian on November 28, in which he revealed that his offer to Mr Abbas included a Palestinian state occupying 94 per cent of the West Bank and all of Gaza. He told The Weekend Australian that he offered Palestinian sovereignty over all the Arab areas of East Jerusalem, so that it could function as a capital for the new Palestinian state.