Security Chief: 3000 Rifles a Month, Explosives, Flow into Gaza

Yuval Diskin, head of Israel’s clandestine security agency, presented a sobering appraisal of Israeli’s post-disengagement security situation to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Scott Shiloh , | updated: 3:12 PM

Since the disengagement last August, Israel’s security in relation to the Palestinian Authority, in particular the Gaza district, has been disintegrating.

“The smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza has jumped by hundreds of percent in comparison to the period before the disengagement,” Diskin told the committee. “If before the disengagement, 200-300 rifles were smuggled in per month, now, we’re talking about 3000” per month.

Terrorist attacks and attempts to carry out such attacks are also on the rise since the disengagement. Diskin said that in October there were 48 such incidents, as compared to 277 in December.

Diskin said that the terrorists were utilizing the relative quiet of the past few months to rebuild their military infrastructure and expand the range of Kassam rockets.

Currently, the terrorists’ rockets have range of 10-40 kilometers, enough to hit Ashkelon on the southern coastal plain, Sderot, and other Israeli towns in the western Negev. These communities have in fact been hit a number of times since the Gaza withdrawal, causing only minor damage thus far.

But with some technological assistance from the outside, Diskin said, the terrorists could, within a few months, significantly improve the rockets’ range. He added that the terrorists are attempting to independently manufacture weapons in Judea and Samaria, including Kassams.

(Kassams fired from Judea and Samaria with a 10-40 kilometer range could strike at Israel’s heavily populated coastal plain. Among the targets in that range is Ben Gurion Airport).

The PA Elections

Regarding the parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on January 25 in the Palestinian Authority, Diskin said the ruling Fatah party will likely win the elections by a margin of 10%. But he expects the Hamas to make a very strong showing in certain localities.

Diskin said the Hamas will resume terror attacks after the PA election. He emphasized that the Shin Bet opposed Hamas participation in the PA election. “The State of Israel must forcefully demand that the terrorist organizations be dismantled,” he said, “and if this doesn’t happen, the Shin Bet recommends not to carry out a dialogue or continue contacts with the (Palestinian) Authority.”

“It’s like a time bomb, if they get to keep their weapons,” he added.

MK Ran Cohen (Meretz-Yahad) Calls for Shooting Jewish Residents in the Legs

The issue of cutting down olive trees in Samaria also came up at the committee meeting. Though recent reports show the issue to be a scam perpetrated by local Arabs, Diskin said that the Shin Bet knows the Jewish residents who are responsible for allegedly chopping down the trees. He said they have not been arrested due to problems in enforcing the law.

MK Ran Cohn (Meretz-Yahad) said the Shin Bet should ambush the Jewish residents “and shoot them in the legs.” Cohen’s words caused a storm among right wing Knesset members. They demanded that he retract his words, but Cohen refused.

IDF regulations in use until this day against Arab terrorists in Judea and Samaria prohibit opening fire on suspects, unless they subject others to an immediate life-threatening situation.