Ofir Dekel, speaking at a conference on terrorism, said that Hamas has changed its strategy, such as revealing the identities of its terrorist chiefs in the Gaza region. "For Hamas, which is a conspiratorial [and] secret [group], such a move is dramatic. It shows the direction it seeks to take," which is to exercise influence in the political arena, Dekel said.

The idea of Hamas terrorists and Israel cooperating with each other is a twist similar to another development that Dekel noted. The Palestinian Authority (PA) recruits terrorists into its police forces to keep down terrorism. "You want to prevent a terror attack, recruit the terrorist. That is how [PA chairman] Abu Mazen acts," he said.

Israel's cooperation with Hamas terrorist leaders is on local matters in the Kalkilya area, which Dekel did not describe in further detail. However, Israeli authorities' cooperation with Hamas terrorists on administrative matters could strengthen Hamas politically elsewhere in Judea and Samaria and weaken the PA.

Hamas won all the council seats in Kalkilya municipal elections earlier this year. The city is highly significant because it is on the list of urban centers which the PA is slated to control according to the Sharm el-Sheik accords negotiated in February. Israel has delayed transferring full responsibility for the city until the PA halts terrorist attacks. Kalkilya also is located strategically on the 1949 border, often referred to as the Green Line which marked Israel's borders before the 1967 Six-Day War.

Dekel said that Hamas "still believes the entire land ... belongs to the Islamic Wakf (trust), and that death for Allah is the most sublime thing," but that its leaders do not want to become martyrs.

He explained that Hamas commanders cannot assume that they are secure in Gaza, where Dekel estimated that Hamas will increase its administrative control. He reminded his audience that the PA suffers from chaos and corruption, whereas the Hamas terror organization is well-run, organized and effective.

Dekel predicted that attacks from Gaza will decrease but that terrorism will escalate from Judea and Samaria, where it is sending terrorists who know how to build rockets. Hamas "is aware of the dramatic effect of such a (rocket) attack," which can reach major Israeli cities, industries and power stations, he said.

He estimated that there will be very little terrorism prior to the scheduled January PA legislative elections.

Dekel also said that terrorist attacks will be less effective because Israel's intelligence system has improved. He added that terrorist groups such as Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades "can be bought," unlike the Islamic Jihad.