The Palestinian Authority's crackdown on the Islamic militant group Hamas that has been criticized for human rights abuses spawned from a secret plan developed with help from the British intelligence agency MI6, according to documents leaked to a U.K. newspaper.
The plan, which asked for silencing radio stations, replacing imams in mosques and detaining leaders and activists, was drawn up by the agency in 2004, the Guardian newspaper of London reported Tuesday.
The newspaper based the report on a large amount of confidential documents obtained by the Arab satellite television station Al-Jazeera and shared with the Guardian. The Guardian independently authenticated the British documents.
"We could also explore the temporary internment of leading Hamas and PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] figures, making sure they are well-treated, with EU funding," reads part of a document titled "Degrading the capabilities of the rejectionists", the Guardian reported.
On Monday, the Guardian reported that in June 2008 then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggestedas an alternative to letting them return to their former homes in Israel and occupied territories.
After Hamas' takeover of Gaza in 2007, the Palestinian Authority's control of the West Bank has become more extensive with hundreds of activists from Hamas and other organizations routinely detained without trial, the Guardian reported.
"The intelligence guys are good," Gen. Keith Dayton, U.S. security coordinator for the region until last October, was recorded saying in a 2009 meeting with Palestinian officials. "The Israelis like them. But they are causing some problems for international donors because they are torturing people.
"I've only started working on this very recently. I don't need to tell you who was working with them before," Dayton said in what the Guardian reported was an apparent reference to the Central Intelligence Agency.