Diskin: Gaza cease-fire is holding

Shin Bet chief says there's a decline in explosives being smuggled into the Gaza Strip, but an increase in the quality of arms.

August 31, 2008 23:27
1 minute read.
Diskin: Gaza cease-fire is holding

diskin 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The "calm" in the Gaza Strip is, in relative terms, holding, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin told the cabinet Sunday, some two and a half months since the cease-fire in Gaza went into effect. According to Diskin, during the period of what has come to be know as the "calm," there have been some 36 terrorist acts - most of them Kassam or mortar attacks - from Gaza. This was in comparison to some 300 incidents registered in the month before the cease-fire, he said. Diskin said it appeared that Hamas was interested in preserving the cease-fire, although it was also trying to improve its position through arms smuggling from Egypt. While there was a marked decline in explosives coming through the tunnels from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, there was an increase in the quantity of small arms being smuggled in, he said. There was Egyptian activity against the smuggling, but this was mostly against the drug trade and less with the arms smuggling, he added. Regarding the Palestinian Authority, Diskin said PA President Mahmoud Abbas's term ends on January 9; he expressed doubts, because of internal Palestinian strife, whether there would be new elections. Diskin said Abbas has three options: He could declare a state of emergency because of the situation in Gaza, disband the Palestinian Legislative Council and call new elections; he could quit politics; or he could find a constitutional solution that would enable his continued rule. According to Diskin, Hamas views Abbas's time as limited and believes that if new elections are not held, then Abbas will be replaced by Abdel Aziz Dweik, the Hamas-affiliated speaker of the PLC who is currently serving time in an Israeli prison. During the meeting, Diskin also reiterated the government's warnings against Israelis going to Sinai because of kidnapping threats. Abe Selig contributed to this report.

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