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Yuval Diskin
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Diskin: PA seeking to increase hold on east Jerusalem
Shin Bet chief goes before cabinet, warns both Palestinian Authority, Hamas are trying to expand their foothold in capital's east

Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin warned Sunday that the Palestinians were increasing their activities in east Jerusalem, with aim of increasing Palestinian presence in the capital.

 

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Diskin said that there is ongoing, clandestine Palestinian Authority activity in east Jerusalem, meant to stop Jews from buying land in the area.

 

The Palestinian Authority has been trying to curb such activity from its inception, persecuting and prosecuting Arab land brokers who sell property to Jews, and sometimes even sentencing them to death.

 

Hamas, he added, has been increasing its effort to get a foothold in the Jerusalem: Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood's senior cleric, who also heads the Islamist group's charity operation, has allotted $21 million to the purchase of property in the city in favor of forming Hamas infrastructure.

 

Turning his attention to the matter of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The Shin Bet chief was asked about Hamas' stance in the negotiations, but refused to answer.

 

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan asked Diskin for his input on the legislative proposal dubbed the "Shalit law," which called for harsher imprisonment conditions of Palestinian prisoners.

 

Diskin reiterated the Shin Bet's stand, according to which such legislation was unnecessary: "The Israeli Prison Service has enough authority and the matter does not require a legislative process... which can only pose difficulties for the current policies and the way they are applied, instead of making things easier. However, that is my personal opinion."

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added that the government was "dealing with the Shalit case in a continuous, intense and earnest manner."

 

Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser said that he "suggested the motion be discussed with the Prison Service commissioner. It is an ongoing process and a legislative process is premature. The government must be allowed its leeway on the matter."  

 

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