Egyptian activity on border criticized
Shin Bet Director Diskin, Internal Security Minister Dichter tell cabinet ministers Cairo not doing enough to thwart smuggling of weapons into Gaza. 'The government must define a tough policy to the IDF in order to create deterrence against Hamas once and for all,' says Dichter
Israeli officials unsatisfied with Egyptian activity: Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter on Sunday criticized the Egyptian activity on the Gaza border, arguing that Cairo was not doing enough to thwart the smuggling of weapons into the Strip.
During the weekly cabinet meeting, Diskin briefed the ministers on the situation in Gaza, saying that "we see an effort exerted by Hamas to rebuild its tunnels, and we have spotted several incidents of weapon smuggling since the ceasefire began."
According to the Shin Bet chief, "The Egyptians are operating in a way pointing to a war on smuggling. This is a positive trend, although their activity is relatively slow."
Addressing the rocket fire from Gaza, Diskin said, "The firing is carried out by rebellious elements. We see all kinds of factions attempting to execute all kinds of terror attacks against Israel."
He added that the Shin Bet had spotted an attempt by Fatah and Hamas to reach an inter-Palestinian agreement. He was referring to the possibility that Fatah would be part of an attempt to reopen the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
Dichter: Gov't must define tough policy
After the briefing of the situation in Gaza, Minister Dichter said that "when Hamas talks about rebuilding Gaza, it talks about rebuilding its rocket alignment directed at Israel and restoring its civil infrastructure. The smuggling of weapons, including rockets, into Gaza is Gaza's Achilles heel after the IDF's successful operation.
According to Dichter, "The Egyptians' activities are too little and too low, and the proof is that rockets continue to be infiltrated from Egypt to Gaza. The government must define an appropriate, harsh and tough policy to the IDF in order to create deterrence against Hamas once and for all."
Security sources say that in spite of the rockets fired by Hamas in recent days, the organization is acting cautiously and is not expanding its activity, so as to prevent a significant Israeli response.
Defense establishment officials are at odds over the Israel Defense Forces' response to any firing of rockets or violation of the ceasefire obtained after Operation Cast Lead.
Some officials are pushing for a firmer response, but most agree that Hamas is acting in a limited manner in order to show that it is "alive and kicking" in terms of its terror activity, but not beyond that.
And what about the arms smuggling tunnels from Egypt to Gaza. The Israel Air Force attacked several tunnels on the Philadelphi route in the Rafah area over the weekend, but defense officials admit that the smuggling is ongoing these days as well, although in a limited manner.
Despite the Egyptians and Europeans' desire to operate against this phenomenon, this is not translated into effective actions at the moment.
According to estimates, the international activity will reduce the phenomenon in the coming months, not only at the top of the pyramid – by damaging the tunnels' route – but also through a more comprehensive in-depth treatment.
Simultaneously, terror organizations will attempt to continue the smuggling activity in any way and will even try to upgrade it.