Newly-appointed Israeli ultra-nationalist Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman understands this too well. His tactic since his ascension to office last May is centered on investing more in these divisions as a way to break down Palestinian society even further.
Now the Israelis are seemingly trying to divide the Palestinian leadership, which has been weak ever since Arafat's death.
According to Israeli Channel 1, document retrieved from USSR archives show Abbas, codenamed 'Krotov,' worked by Russian agency in 1980s. Palestinian officials dismiss the report and call it yet another attempt by Israel to discredit the PA president. "There's a clear trend of attempting to damage Abu Mazen by various elements, including Israel," Mohammed al-Madani, a member of the Fatah's central committee told Haaretz, referring to Abbas by his nickname. "This is another attempt to slander him," he added.
According to al-Madani, the relationship between the Soviet Union and the Palestine Liberation Organization began in the late 1960s, when Yasser Arafat visited Moscow. The Soviet Union supplied the Palestinians with firearms, and Abbas, as a member of the PLO executive committee, was the liaison to the Russians.
Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the PLO executive committee and a close adviser to the Palestinian president, told Haaretz that Abbas had no need for a covert channel of communication with the Soviets since he was the head of the Palestinian-Soviet Friendship Foundation and as such was the de-facto liaison between the PLO and the Soviet Union.
Abbas didn't respond officially to the report. However, sources close to him noted that Arab states and the U.S. have recently been waging a campaign to pressure him to reinstate former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan. Abbas has rejected what he termed a gross interference in Palestinians' internal affairs.
Although unknown to most outsiders, it should be noted that Abbas is of Baha'i faith and not Islam.