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GSS Chief: Hamas Buying Up Jerusalem

Shin Bet head warns that Hamas, Islamic Movement are buying Jerusalem land in battle for Israel's capital.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/17/2010, 5:36 PM / Last Update: 6/17/2010, 6:03 PM

Hamas, Fatah, and the Islamic Movement are buying properties within Jerusalem city limits as part of the struggle for the future of Israel's capital, says Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin. Diskin appeared at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee session this week to share his assessment.

Fatah, Hamas, and the Islamic Movement “are competing for influence and presence in the field,” Diskin said. Fatah and Hamas have often competed for power since a joint PA coalition fell apart in 2007 with the violent Hamas takeover of Gaza.

Hamas is illegal in Israel, but has managed to buy land via Islamic charity groups (dawas), Diskin explained.

Almost a year ago, Diskin warned the Cabinet that Hamas had received $21 million to be used to buy buildings in Jerusalem. The money came from Yusef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian sheikh with terrorist sympathies living in Qatar.

Diskin revealed at that time that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was seeking to reduce the Jewish presence in historic Jerusalem by buying up properties and preventing Arabs from renting to Jews.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, Diskin warned MKs about the danger of removing the naval blockade on Gaza. Allowing ships to sail to Gaza from international ports would be “a huge security breach” even if the ships were inspected, he said.

Gaza terrorists are continuing to build their arms supplies, both by smuggling in new weapons from Egypt and by building their own, he said. Some Hamas rocket have a range of up to 40 kilometers.