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      Shabak Chief Warns - Again - of Gaza-Initiated War

      Yuval Diskin, head of the GSS, tells Knesset Members yet again that Israel faces a massive military offensive initiated by increasingly-armed Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 11/14/2006, 2:27 PM / Last Update: 11/14/2006, 11:40 AM

      Appearing this morning (Tuesday) before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Diskin said that the terrorists in Gaza are preparing and arming themselves for the coming clash. The extremist factions in particular are strengthening themselves, he said.

      Diskin told the MKs that the terrorists in Gaza are carefully studying the lessons of the recent war in Lebanon, and are receiving mass quantities of weapons smuggled in from Egypt. He added that terror experts are also making their way into Gaza in various clandestine ways, as part of the preparations for the frontal clash with the IDF.

      The General Security Service chief said that Israel will be left with no choice but to preempt the attack with a large, comprehensive offensive in Gaza. He added, however, that now is not the time for an offensive. Instead, he proposed that Israel enable Fatah to be strengthened at the expense of Hamas.

      Diskin has long painted a grim picture of the situation in Gaza. He told the same committee this past August, “Samaria has become the land of Islamic Jihad following the Disengagement,” noting that Judea and Samaria have become much harder to control since four Jewish communities in northern Samaria were destroyed by the Israeli government in 2005. He said that Hizbullah is becoming a greater threat than even Fatah and Hamas within these areas.

      A week earlier, the Shabak chief told the government ministers that the "intensification of terror infrastructure in Gaza is a strategic problem which, if not treated properly, will result in a situation just like in Lebanon.” He said that "tons of explosives and hundreds of weapons have been smuggled in recently through the Philadelphi Corridor [on the Gaza-Egyptian border].”

      In response to Dichter's comments, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has been asked to initiate a public investigative committee to review the decision-making process that led to the Disengagement from Gaza. An organization named "The World Task Force for the Nation and the Land" demands an investigation into how such a decision could have been made in the face of strong security warnings and the firing of Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Yaalon, who opposed the plan.