A delegation of Palestinian intelligence officials was reportedly in Washington DC for talks with the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA].
According to the Axios news site, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas revealed the news about the talks to Israeli members of the Knesset during a meeting in his office in Ramallah during the weekend.
The meeting between the Palestinian intelligence officials and the CIA comes as a surprise after the PA cut ties with the Trump administration since the decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem last year.
The relationship between the PA and the US had another blow on Friday as the Trump administration announced that it was cutting all funding for UNWRA which aids around 5.4 million Palestinians across the Middle East.
However, according to Axios the connection between the CIA and the Palestinian General Intelligence service is still one of the few functioning channels of communication between the US administration and the Palestinians.
As so, the Trump administration has decided to maintain the funding of the Palestinian security services while cutting aid to the PA and projects in the West Bank and Gaza.
Axios also reported that according to two people who attended Sunday’s meeting with Abbas, the president wants to maintain security coordination and intelligence sharing with the US despite cutting all ties with the White House.
The delegation to the US was led by one of Abba’s closest associates, head of the PA’s General Intelligence Service Majed Faraj.
Since the boycott began, Faraj has met with top US officials on several occasions, including the former CIA director Mike Pompeo in April, shortly before Pompeo became Secretary of State.
The Palestinian official, who has been to the White House before President Abbas, is said to have been involved in all meetings with Trump’s special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
The cooperation between the PA Intelligence service and the CIA is not something new. In 2009, it was reported that the CIA was working closely with the Preventive Security Organisation [PSO] and the General Intelligence Service [GI] of Palestine.
Western diplomats and other officials in the region said that the American agency appeared to be supervising the Palestinians’ work.
While the CIA and the PA denied that the US agency controlled its Palestinian counterparts, neither dismissed that they interacted closely in the West Bank.
Source: Palestine Monitor