Ex-Shin Bet chief: Prisoner exchanges are bad for Israel

Yuval Diskin warns Hamas getting stronger while Fatah getting weaker: "When Abbas goes, security situation could deteriorate."

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October 26, 2011 14:44
1 minute read.
Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin at HLS int'l conference

Yuval Diskin 311. (photo credit: Sivan Faraj )

 
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Israel should stop agreeing to prisoner-exchange deals with terror organizations, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin said on Wednesday, in his first comments on the Gilad Schalit swap with Hamas.

“I wasn’t involved in the details, and I don’t want to hand out grades to the current Shin Bet head,” Diskin said during a speech to the Ayalim Association, which promotes the development of the Negev and the Galilee.

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“These deals aren’t good for the State of Israel, and the state would do well to stop them,” he added.

Diskin was replaced by current Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen in May.

Cohen had stated that the exchange deal with Hamas was manageable, noting that most of the released terrorists would be banned from returning to the West Bank, where they could have reactivated terrorist networks. The 55 released prisoners released to the West Bank and east Jerusalem are under close watch by security forces.

During his speech on Wednesday, Diskin criticized the government for failing to hold diplomatic talks with the Palestinian Authority, saying that this was “harming our legitimacy in the world.”

He added that talks with the PA could go ahead in a secure way, and warned that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was getting weaker vis-a-vis his Islamist rival, Hamas.

Abbas “opposes terrorism, not because he loves Jews, but because he thinks it damages the Palestinian interest. Fatah is in a painful and problematic period, and Hamas is getting stronger,” Diskin warned.

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Noting that Abbas is not in very good health and is suffering from exhaustion, Diskin said that should the PA president conclude that he cannot move forward towards Palestinian statehood, he would quit his post, resulting in a security deterioration for the area.

Abbas does not have a natural successor from within Fatah ranks at this stage, Diskin added.

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