U.S. President Barack Obama has “hit the ground running” for a new Palestinian Authority state since his election victory, but Yuval Diskin, head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), sees a steep cliff ahead.
One day after President Obama told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he is going full-speed ahead with plans for establishing a new PA state in Judea, Gaza and Samaria, Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that there is "no chance for an effective peace process so long as Hamas rules Gaza."
“Hamas will never give up control of Gaza, and the PA will not concede power in Judea and Samaria,” he explained. The United States and most of the Western world have officially banned Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Hamas will never give up control of Gaza, and the PA will not concede power in Judea and Samaria.
Diskin also contradicted claims by many American officials that the PA can take control of security in Judea and Samaria, noting that Israeli security forces are largely responsible for keeping a lid on terrorism.
The idea that the Fatah faction, headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, will become more popular than Hamas, also was squelched by Diskin. He said that Hamas might even be more popular than Fatah and that if elections were held today, “there is a good chance Hamas would win.”
Diskin also told the committee that Hamas is maintaining quiet and has reduced rocket and mortar attacks against Israel to near zero only because it is trying “to gain time” and smuggle in more arms. He also advised that Israel should try to topple the Hamas de facto government.
His most positive remark concerned Egypt, which he said is improving its efforts to stop the smuggling of weapons into Gaza, although 300 tunnels still are being in use.
Diskin also called for a halt in building the remaining sections of the separation-security barrier, stating that Israeli intelligence and military counterterrorism capabilities are adequate to accomplish what the barrier was intended to do.