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Shabak Security Chief Diskin: 'I Won't Fall Off My Chair If Hamas Wins Palestinian Election Next Month'

Hamas Sweeps West Bank Towns In Local Palestinian Elections

IDF Steps Up Counter-Terror Operations After Terrorists Launch Rockets At Israeli Town of Ashqelon

Hamas (AlJazeera)

Is Hamas, a terror organization bound on Israel's destruction, on the way to winning the Palestinian general election in January? Yes, says Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin who is quoted by the Israeli daily Maariv.Until now, the Israeli assessment was that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement would come in first. In the Gaza Strip, despite Israel's evacuation last summer, terrorists there have escalated their attacks and again launched Qassam rockets at the Israeli town of Ashqelon to the north. The IDF is striking back with air raids, sonic booms and artillery.

:: IsraCast Audio ::
Yuval Diskin

'I won't fall off my chair if Hamas wins the Palestinian election next month'. That's the assessment of Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin who contradicts the prevailing Israeli assessment that the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas was a shoo-in.

Earlier this week, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said if Hamas took 30% of next month’s ballot for the legislative council, the terror organization would view it as a victory.However, Hamas has just swept local elections in the West Bank towns of Nablus, Jenin and Al Birah winning some 70 % of the votes. The failure of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to control the internal chaos in the Palestinian areas and the recent split in Fatah are believed responsible for the Hamas gains. It is now a distinct possibility that next month the Palestinians will vote Hamas into power, a terror organization that vows to wipe Israel off the map. It would be no less than a sea-change and a major set-back in the American sponsored drive to the Roadmap and ultimately a Palestinian state.

IAF Strike

Meanwhile, terrorists in the Gaza Strip are escalating their attacks on Israel, while Palestinian security forces sit back and do nothing to intervene. Israeli sources say in some cases, the Palestinian policemen actually help in the Qassam rocket attacks on towns and settlements inside Israel. An Israeli official says: A senior Israeli source declares: ‘The terrorists have crossed a red line by launching a Qassam at the Israeli town of Ashqelon, north of Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea’. Overnight, Israeli aircraft stepped up their raids on thirteen access routes to rocket launching sites as well as triggering sonic booms over the Gaza Strip to disrupt the launching of the rockets and to warn the Palestinian population. Last month, Israel succumbed to pressure from visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and agreed to a deal allowing Palestinian truck and bus convoys linking the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. But now this good will gesture to the Palestinians as been put on hold due to the terrorist attacks. In one case, an Israeli helicopter took out a Palestinian truck bomb that was heading to blow up the Israeli terminal of Karni to the Gaza Strip.

David Essing

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