Hamas is a long-term threat to the State of Israel, Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin during a security briefing in the Knesset.
Referring to warnings by security officials to the government about Hamas' '"honey trap," Diskin said that "Hamas' offer of a 'hudna' (ceasefire) for ten years does not change their basic approach not to recognize the State of Israel."
He warned against the hudna, saying that "even if it brings temporary clam, and it doesn't matter what will be during the intermediate period, Hamas' ideology won't compromise."
Diskin and MK Steinitz at security meeting (Photo: Yoav Galai)
"The establishment of a radical Islamic Hamas state along the borders of Israel, with radical Islamic groups joining it, may have military options that will constitute a strategic threat on Israel," Diskin explained.
Classifying Hamas as a strategic threat placed the terror group in the same category as Iran, which, according to IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, armed with a nuclear weapon, was up until recently "the sole strategic threat posed to Israel."
Mortar shells planned to be fired at Jerusalem uncovered
The Shin Bet chief also revealed that in the past two days the IDF uncovered in Bethlehem a launcher and eight mortar shells, which were planned to be fired at the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.
"As far as we know, this is the first time high-trajectory weapons planned to be fired at Jerusalem have been located," he added.
Ynet recently revealed the heavy fear
among defense establishment officials that Gilo was being targeted once again, following a number of thwarted attempts to fire at the neighborhood.
Two days after the the new Palestinian parliament was sworn in,
Diskin addressed the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in order to present his security analysis from the perspective of the general armed forces.
'PA election results surprised us'
The Shin Bet chief admitted to Knesset Members that "the election results surprised us all."
"Fatah was not united. In regional elections, many of its candidates didn't pass the minimum required votes. Compared to that, Hamas was much more organized. The Palestinian vote was against corruption and against Fatah," he added.
"Although Hamas is in complex dilemmas, they should not be degraded. They have a very intelligent leadership which does not act hysterically, but through judgment," Diskin said.
The meeting was held after the government decided to freeze funds to the Palestinian Authority (such as tax money), in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
The government's decision to freeze funding has caused a wave of global criticism.
The U.N.'s delegate to the area called on Jerusalem to transfer the money, and not to act "against the decisions of the Quartet."
In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu charged that "the Olmert government is confused," while voices on the left said that the decision would harm the Palestinian population.
"The establishment of a Hamas Islamic extremist state along Israel's borders, and the attempt by radical Islamic elements to connect to it, could be responsible for military options which will form a strategic threat to Israel," said Diskin.
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) said that Israel must prevent with force the establishment of a Hamas government.
"We must all be concerned about the strategic threat which the Shin Bet Head spoke of. Israel must stop the pong pong, the threats, and the pressure, and to nip the threat in the bud," he added. Sheinitz called on the government to blockade Hamas leaders.