Hamas plans to attempt a suicide attack inside Israel, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin warned at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Diskin said that despite the relative calm in the Gaza Strip, Hamas would make its move in an attempt to weaken Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.
Diskin presented the cabinet ministers with a briefing showing that Hamas would not settle for conquering the Strip, but also planned to take over the West Bank, and the PLO.
"Hamas is taking the gangs and weapons off the streets, trying to demonstrate peace and quiet and get the security forces back," Diskin said, "At the same time, it (Hamas) is examining the option of carrying out a suicide attack in order to prevent Abu Mazen (Abbas') strengthening.
"Hamas' status in the West Bank is not great, as a result of Israel's activity," the Shin Bet chief added, "Since the start of the Hamas-Fatah clashes, some 150-200 Hamas operatives were arrested.
"Fatah is dismantled and divided in the West Bank, and its strength is in Hamas' weakness. It has no leadership; there is no one person running things. In the Shin Bet's opinion, without a strong party and without a strong Fatah – the chances of the (Palestinian) security forces succeeding are slim."
Regarding last week's rocket attack on the northern town of Kiryat Shmona, Diskin said he believed those rockets were fired as a result of the clashes between the Lebanese military and the Fath Al Islam terror group operating from the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon.
"Following these events, they tried to take that conflict out on Israel. The conflict is with Fath Al Islam, which is a global Jihad organization. As far as we are concerned, this is the entrance of al Qaeda into the Arab world," Diskin said.
'Hamas knows it needs Abbas'
Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, who also attended Sunday's cabinet meeting, commented on the political rift in the PA since Hamas' takeover of Gaza, saying, "Two governments were formed on the Palestinian front – both believe they are legitimate. Haniyeh's government knows that it was dismissed, but views itself as an interim government. There is geographical division between them; each of the governments views itself responsible for different territory.
"Hamas realized that it has gone too far and is trying to go back, in order to gain legitimacy among the Palestinians, the Arab world and the international community. Hamas knows it needs Abbas as a money launderer, for political ties, etc.
"(Hamas) doesn't just want to stay in Gaza," Yadlin said, "it wants to shake off its radical Islamist image in Gaza…In the short term it is not interested in creating terror and wants to maintain the calm in order to establish legitimacy. The assumption is that it will return to terror, this is its ideology and it has not abandoned it."
Yadlin also commented on Arab leaders' harsh criticism of Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip, saying, "The Arab world is shocked from what has occurred in Gaza. No one thought Hamas would behave like this. There is fear of the Muslim Brotherhoods in Arab countries following what took place in Gaza.
"Only Syria and Iran have expressed content with what has happened. No one in the Arab world wanted to see separation between Gaza and the West Bank."
Olmert: We are strong enough to take risksDuring the cabinet meeting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Hamas was not a partner for peace. "No one considers it a partner. Obviously we want someone on the Palestinian side… But we are not fooling ourselves, there is concern that Abu Mazen (Abbas) will go back and do what he did with the Mecca agreement. I suggest we don't fool ourselves, but don’t spare any effort to create a platform from which we can proceed. This is that attitude I am taking to Sharm el-Sheikh," he said.
Olmert also addressed his plans to transfer Palestinian tax funds to the PA, saying, "Of course there are some risks. Everyone is talking about the risks, the Shin Bet chief and the intelligence chief. When one makes such a move, one must know how to take the risks as well, even though it is not easy."
Minister for Strategic Affairs Avidgor Lieberman told Olmert, "The problem is that we are always taking risks, first Oslo, second Oslo, the disengagement."
Olmert responded by saying, "We are strong enough to take risks."