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Shabak Chief: "Don't Agree to Hudna With Hamas"

GSS head Yuval Diskin warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee that Hamas is a strategic threat to Israel, and is planning to build itself into an extremist Islamic country.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 2/20/2006, 2:06 PM / Last Update: 2/20/2006, 11:26 AM

Some Hamas officials have said that the new PA leadership would be willing to agree to a hudna - a long-term ceasefire, violable as soon as the Moslem side feels confident of victory - under certain conditions. The conditions, generally overlooked in favor of the very willingness of Hamas to consider a truce, include Israel's consent to remove all Jewish presence from Judea and Samaria and the like.

GSS Chief Diskin hopes to nip all talk of a possible hudna in the bud. He told the Knesset committee today that Israel "must not accept a hudna even if proposed. It would lead to a long-term strategic threat upon Israel. If there is a hudna, Hamas will use it to stabilize its rule and form a fundamentalist extremist Islamic entity with terrorist capabilities... Hamas has a lot of patience, just like the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt."

Diskin said that Islamic terrorists from all over the Middle East would arrive in Judea and Samaria and "form an Islamic terrorist state on our doorstep." He also warned that the strengthening of a Hamas Authority would also embolden Israeli-Arabs against Israel, as occurred in the beginning of the Oslo War in 2000.

Committee Chairman Yuval Shteinitz called upon the Olmert government to stop Hamas by "placing a siege on the Hamas leaders in their cities, just like we didn't let Arafat leave Ramallah."

"We must all be concerned by the threat Diskin talked about," Shteinitz said. "Israel must immediately... stop the development of this threat before it grows." He said that the Hamas offer of a hudna is a "honey trap. Whoever [on the Israeli side] wants to commit suicide, will agree to temporary quiet at the expense of the establishment of a Palestinian Revolutionary Guard movement and the threat of Kassams at the heart of the country."

Committee member Danny Yatom (Labor) downplayed Diskin's warning: "Hamas is not an existential threat and not even 'almost' existential; to say it's a strategic threat is overstating the situation."

Avi Dichter, a leading candidate for Defense Minister if Kadima forms the next government, feels that Hamas need not be automatically ruled out as a future diplomatic partner. He recently told Haaretz,
"The stopping of terrorism, the disarming of the terror organizations, the fulfillment of agreements signed by Israel and the PA, recognition of the State of Israel, and the erasure of clauses in the charter calling for the destruction of Israel and Jews - these are the conditions for dialogue with the Palestinians... The Roadmap [calling for a PA state side-by-side with Israel] is the only diplomatic plan that receives widespread Israeli and international support."

Former GSS head Ami Ayalon of Labor is even more conciliatory:
"If these conditions are fulfilled - recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish People, and disarming and ending terrorist activities - there is no reason not to see Hamas as a partner in future Road Map negotiations."

Ayalon feels that Israel must also prepare for future unilateral withdrawals and must continue to build the wall separating most of Judea and Samaria from the rest of Israel.

GSS Chief Diskin faced opposition from Meretz MK Ran Cohen for calling the disengagement from Gaza an "uprooting." Cohen said that Diskin should not politicize the debate by using such terms. Diskin said that it is not a political term, but rather a technical one describing the act of taking people out of their homes against their will.

In the meanwhile, Hamas officials are preparing to instill their ideals among the Arab populace in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Leading spokesman Mahmoud al-Zahar said last week that one new reform will include education about the "culture of resistance" - i.e., terrorism. Hamas's armed branch, the Iz-Adin al-Kassam, states in its literature that "resistance" is the same as jihad, or holy war.

Hamas created an on-line children's magazine in 2004 entitled Al-Fatah (The Conqueror), in which articles include pieces written by suicide terrorists and images of suicide bombers. In addition, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center recently reported that Hamas has launched its first TV channel. The "Al-Aqsa" station, which began last month, resembles Hizbullah's incendiary Al-Manar TV station.

A video from the year 2004 broadcast on a Hamas website shows two suicide bombers, Idham Ahmed Majila and Maumin Rajab Rajab, who blew themselves up at the Karni Crossing in a terrorist attack in 2004. Majila is heard stating, "We are a blood-drinking people and we know that there is no better blood than Jewish blood."