Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Fahmi Shabana, the former Palestinian intelligence officer behind the Fatahgate scandal has threatened to reveal what he described as “facts that will shake the Palestinian Authority.”
Shabana told Asharq Al-Awsat that he decided to speak at a news conference in occupied Jerusalem next Monday to reveal this information instead of 1 March as was planned. Shabana added: “The information will lead to an estrangement between the Arab and Islamic world, on the one hand, and the PA on the other.” He also said: “I want to give the chance to the president to quickly try to mend things before the Arab summit.”
Commenting on the doubts raised about him and his past statements, Shabana said: “As the saying goes, he who does not know the falcon cooks it, and I know the information I have.” Answering a question on whether the new secrets deal with financial corruption and embezzlement, he said that “this is a stage that we have gone beyond,” and ruled out the possibility that the information is related to dealing with Israel saying: “Coordination with Israel is something known…and we are all spies whether we know it or not.”
He added: “The information I have is much more serious and will make any Palestinian curse the day on which he came from Tunisia.” Shabana refused to reveal the nature of his information, but he said that he has informed two PA lieutenant generals who came to settle the issue of this information and asked them to convey it to the Palestinian president. He said that he is ready to call off the news conference after measures are taken against four PA officials and after an apology is made for the campaign that cast doubt about his patriotism.
Shabana accused these officials of corruption, falsehood, and of deceiving the people. He said he has information on their corruption and lies, and charged that they led a defamation campaign against him. He added: “The defamation campaign has greatly hurt me, and they accused me of being a spy for Israel,” adding sarcastically “had I been a wanted person [by Israel] and then suddenly I obtained a VIP card, or was it someone else?”
Shabana said the information he has will also complicate the issue of reconciliation, denying that the information is related to Hamas, but said: “The Arab and Islamic worlds, including Hamas, will renounce the PA, and I think that it will be difficult for Hamas to reach any reconciliation with the PA.”
Shabana said that when he recorded the Rafiq al-Husseini video, the president’s chief of staff, he did that in implementation of instructions by Tawfiq al-Tirawi, the then director of the Intelligence Service. He said: “I was his right or left hand, and I have evidence that he asked me to do so.” According to Shabana, he informed [PA President Mahmud] Abbas of the issue and handed him the videotape and told him that al-Husseini “insults you and late President Yasser Arafat, but Abu-Mazin [Abbas] never took any measure against him.” Shabana said that he sent the documents about financial corruption to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, but according to Shabana, Fayyad has not taken any action on the matter. The authenticity of the documents Shabana is having could not be verified. The P A said that they are old and those involved have been prosecuted earlier.
Shabana accused al-Husseini of instigating the Israelis to arrest him and demolish his house, which was done. Shabana has not provided any evidence to back up his statements, but said “the charge for which I was jailed was that I work for the intelligence and not for anything else. There are others who work for the intelligence and other apparatuses but have not been arrested.” He added: “throughout the period of my detention, they (the PA) have not asked about me and have not paid for the lawyers as they usually do.”
The PA accused Shabana of working for the Israelis, and said it stopped paying his salary two years ago for various charges, including involvement in selling land to Jews. Shabana commented: “I received my salary last month. I also say that the president had ordered that I be promoted after receiving al-Husseini’s tape a year and a half ago.”
Shabana has stirred up what is known as Fatahgate when he handed the Israeli television, Channel 10, pictures and documents dealing with financial and moral corruption that caused a shock and controversy in the public opinion, which forced Abbas to suspend the director of his office and form an investigation committee. Shabana said that he gave the Israeli television 15 minutes of a recording of six hours he is having, and that he has exploited the Israeli television, not vice versa, to stir up the public opinion. Shabana said, however, that he will not deal with the investigation committee that Abbas formed because, in his view, it is not honest. Shabana is now wanted by the General Prosecution on various charges.