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SHABAK ON HAMAS

Shabak Chief Diskin: In Short Run, Hamas Will Keep The Quiet & Build Its Military Strength To Pose Long Term Strategic Threat To Israel

Hamas Is Bent On Destroying Jewish State & Israel Must Not Fall For Any Phony De Facto Recognition

Shabak Security Chief - Yuval Diskin

Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin has presented his assessment of the threat to Israel posed by the Hamas take-over of the Palestinian Authority. In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Diskin warned that Hamas may bide its time in the short run in order to build its military power but its ultimate goal is to exterminate Israel.

Hamas is apparently planning to recognize Israel de facto in order to buy time to build up its military strength in order to pose a strategic threat to Israel in the long run - thats the assessment of Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin. Therefore the Hamas game plan is to keep the quiet but Israel must not be lulled into thinking there is any change in the Hamas goal to exterminate the Jewish state. He went on to say that Hamas would not dismantle any of the terror groups as part of this long-term strategy.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is still an important player and the only one standing between Hamas and total domination of the Palestinian Authority. However, although Mahmoud Abbas favors a different approach, he will not confront Hamas and there was no possibility of a Palestinian civil war in the coming months. Meanwhile, Fatah was pressing Abbas not to hand over control of the security apparatus to Hamas.

On the ground, the Islamic Jihad and some splinter groups continue their attacks. In January they launched 130 Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip at targets inside Israel - this is double the number in December. But the Israeli security forces are having not bad success; a Palestinian mortar and eight bombs were uncovered in Bethlehem near Jerusalem. The weapon has a range that could reach the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. In reaction to right wing demands that Israel take a tougher stand against Hamas, Diskin said: I would not recommend a military action against Hamas at this stage: its premature.

After Israel froze the flow of tax money to the Palestinian Authority, Hamas will be hard-pressed to come up with the $1.5 billion dollars needed annually to pay salaries and provide services. Hamas may be able to come up with millions in contributions but Diskin believes this will not be a long-term solution. He noted that during the intifada Israel cut off the funds at times, but the Palestinians managed to make ends meet.

In warning that Israel should not be taken in by Hamas in the short-term, the Shabak chief warned that a future Hamas state with an army would attract radical Islamist terrorists from places like Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Such a state on Israels border with military power and a terrorist capability present a strategic threat to Israel.

David Essing

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