Israeli news station, Channel 1, has obtained archived Soviet documents showing that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was a KGB operative. Palestinian officials immediately denied these allegations, claiming that the latest reports amount to “slander.”
But according to an analysis report conducted by prominent Israeli researchers Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, Abbas, codename “Krotov” (or Mole), worked for the Soviet secret police under the supervision of Mikhail Bodganov, a high-ranking official stationed in Damascus. To this day, Bodganov still holds a prominent place in the Russian government, working as President Vladimir Putin’s (himself a former KGB operative) Middle East envoy. Despite (or perhaps because of?) his clandestine activities with Abbas, Bodganov has attempted to play mediator between Abbas’ Fatah government in the West Bank and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud government in Israel. In fact, just this week, he tried (but ultimately failed) to organize a peace summit between the two parties in Moscow.
The documents reveal an extensive relationship between the Soviet Union and the nascent Palestinian nationalist movement that began in the late 1960s. At the time, the Soviets established a covert channel with Yasser Arafat’s terror-inclined guerilla group, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, or PLO. Abbas held an integral role in these backdoor communications, functioning as liaison. Accordingly, the PLO closely collaborated with the KGB, receiving Soviet arms to launch asymmetrical warfare against the State of Israel.
It’s unclear exactly when Abbas began working for the KGB office in Damascus to facilitate coordination between the PLO and the Soviet Union, but according to the documents his stint likely began after 1983.
In the early 1980s, Abbas was studying at a university in Moscow. He traveled to the Soviet capital to defend his virulently anti-Semitic doctoral thesis entitled, “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.” The thesis doesn’t even scratch at the surface of academic rigor, as it’s littered with historical revisionism and Holocaust denialism. Not surprisingly, many of the main points argued in the thesis come straight from popular Soviet anti-Semitic writings, including the cartoonishly conspiratorial “The Protocols of the Elders of the Zion,” a text that impressively manages to consolidate nearly every single anti-Semitic historical trope and roll it into one Jew-bashing narrative about a furtive cabal of hook-nosed, hunch-backed, money-grubbing Jews controlling the world. The text is still incredibly popular throughout the Arab world. In some Islamist-littered territories, including the West Bank and Gaza, it’s a best-seller that’s taught to children as historical fact.
Abbas, codename “Krotov” (or Mole), worked for the Soviet secret police under the supervision of Mikhail Bodganov, a high-ranking official stationed in Damascus.
The documents that illustrate Abbas’ connection to the ruthless Soviet secret police were smuggled out of the former Soviet Union by senior KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin. Mitrokhin defected to the United Kingdom in 1992, providing vast amounts of secret Soviet documents to Western intelligence in the process. Collectively, Mitrokhin’s smuggled documents have come to be known the Mitrokhin Archive.
Most of the documents in the archive, some of which include Mitrokhin’s own handwritten notes, remain classified by the British spy agency MI5.