Diskin: Hamas won’t give Mid East peace a chance, can be toppled
US president Barack Obama’s plan to launch a fresh Middle East initiative is a non-starter as long as the extremist Hamas rules the Gaza Strip, said Shin Bet (internal security agency) director Yuval Diskin Tuesday, May 19. He was commenting to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee on the extensive talks the US president held with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House Monday.
Israel’s policy-makers must decide once and for all whether to topple the Hamas regime which in his view can be done without reoccupying the Gaza Strip.
Hamas will not let go of the Gaza Strip or its fundamentalist ideology, Diskin warned, while the Palestinian Authority is equally determined to hold on to the West Bank. But if elections were held on the West Bank today, Hamas would win.
He confirmed debkafile‘s disclosure on May 18 (Egypt acts – finally – to block Hamas arms smuggling) that Egyptian forces in Sinai and the Philadelphi Corridor of the Gaza Strip have now clamped down in earnest on Hamas’ gunrunning gunnels through Sinai. For article click HERE
Until its special forces went into action, Hamas used the four months since Israel’s Gaza operation ended in January to smuggle in 46 anti-air missiles, 330 mortars, 37 short-range ground missiles and 17 tons of explosives.
Hamas, said Diskin, is aiming to upgrade its arsenal with missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv and its satellite towns in central Israel. He said there is no evidence that the Palestinian organization has succeeded. Rumors reached debkafile‘s military sources during the Gaza offensive that Hamas had got hold of three or four Fajr-5 rockets which would have brought southern Tel Aviv 63 kilometers to the north of the Gaza Strip within range, but they were never confirmed.
After meeting Netanyahu, Obama reaffirmed his belief in a Palestinian state alongside Israel as the solution for the Middle East conflict. Netanyahu said the Palestinians should govern themselves but warned that the West Bank could easily deteriorate into a “Hamastan.”
In Gaza City, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum, in a statement denouncing the Obama-Netanyahu summit, accused the US president of failing to bring change to US policy or counter the prime minister’s demand for Israel’s recognition as a Jewish state. Hamas forbids the PA to resume negotiations with the “Zionist enemy” because of “the great danger they would pose for the Palestinian people.”
Hamas and Fatah delegates wound up the sixth round of their power-sharing talks in Cairo Monday without breaking their impasse.