Diskin Plays Down PA Unity, Unilateral Moves
In a rare press conference Wednesday outgoing Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Director Yuval Diskin said he did not see the Fatah-Hamas Unity agreement signed in Cairo as being genuine. Criticism had been leveled at Israeli intelligence for not predicting the unity agreement.
"I do not see this as a true reconciliation," Diskin told reporters.
Diskin cited Hamas’s refusal to readmit Fatah to Gaza Strip and Fatah’s identical refusal to allow Hamas reenter Judea and Samaria as a material obstacle to implementing the agreement.
“The signing of the agreement creates a facade of unity but it is unclear how they will implement the agreement on the ground,” Diskin added.
Diskin also cited Hamas refusal' to accept the Quartet's conditions for PA statehood – recognizing Israel’s right to exist, recognizing previous Israel-PA agreements, and a cessation of terror activity – as well as Fatah and Hamas’ inability to establish joint security forces - as serious impasses between the rival factions.
Diskin refused to comment on the sudden shift in the attitudes and flurry of public statements made by Israeli leaders following the unity deal's announcement, but did say he believed Israel should not terminate security coordination with the PA.
“It is not worth getting into a situation that is irreversible,” he said. “As long as the security forces do not change their policies and action on the ground there is no reason for us to change our policy.”
Diskin also played down the impact public concerns a Third Intifada called for via Facebook will be launched on May 15th or the relevance of a unilateral declaration of PA statehood by the United Nations should one come to pass in September.
“The world will not turn upside down on October 1,” he said. “If however there is complete deadlock, that could lead to frustration but I don’t know when that will be and it will depend a lot on what steps Israel takes.”
Diskin, who is leaving his post in the coming weeks will be replaced by 30-year Shin Bet veteran Yoram Cohen.