Terrorist activity directed against Israel will likely increase as the peace process advances, Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin warned the cabinet Sunday,.
He made the comments two days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the framework of the recently launched direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
During his briefing, the head of the internal security service said terror activity initiated in Gaza by Hamas' armed wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is premised on people who have been released from Israeli prisons and are taking orders from jailed terrorists.
At this point, Netanyahu said there was a high probability that releasing such terrorists in exchange for captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit would lead to an increase in the scope and intensity of terrorist activity.
Diskin lauded the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, saying it had significantly stepped up its struggle against Hamas out of genuine fear of the Islamist group.
He attributed the improvement in the PA security forces' capabilities to foreign aid and training they are receiving from the Americans, but said the Palestinians have yet to undergo a conceptual change, particularly with regards to the efficiency of their court system and prisons.
The Shin Bet chief told the ministers that as long as the diplomatic process advances, attempts to carry out terror attacks will increase. According to Diskin, the past three years have seen a drop in terror-related incidents. However, he said, "It is estimated that this period (of relative calm) may be coming to an end due to the peace talks."
A day before the Jewish New Year, the Palestinians declared they had arrested six terrorists responsible for the murder of four Israelis and the injury of two others in separate shooting attacks in the West Bank.
However, on Thursday the PA released dozens of Hamas prisoners as a gesture for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival.
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