'No problem with easing restriction.' Diskin
Photo: Yaron Brener

Shin Bet chief: Lifting Gaza naval blockade dangerous

Diskin tells Knesset's Defense Committee lifting naval blockade 'major security breach' even if vessels inspected before reaching Strip; says Hamas, Islamic Jihad have some rockets 'capable of reaching Gush Dan'

"Lifting the naval blockade on Gaza would constitute a very dangerous development for Israel," Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said Tuesday.


Speaking before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Diskin said terror organizations in the Gaza Strip "continue to arm themselves, both through production and smuggling."


He noted that Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Strip have some 5,000 rockets with a range of up to 40 km. Most of the rockets were produced in the Strip, but dozens of projectiles were smuggled into Gaza as well, said Diskin, adding that the terror groups also have a few rockets which are "capable of reaching Gush Dan."


"Even if vessels headed for Gaza will be inspected by foreign security personnel, this (lifting blockade) will be a major security breach," said the Shin Bet chief.


"First of all, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Secondly, I have no problem with easing the restrictions on the shipment of goods from Israel to Gaza. The smuggling that endangers Israel is taking place through tunnels in Sinai," he told the MKs.


"Lifting the naval blockade would constitute a very dangerous development. A port in Gaza would be a major security breach, despite the option of inspecting vessels prior to their arrival."


"Sinai attracts al-Qaeda (terrorists) who come from Iraq through Jordan. Terror abettors from Gaza also make their way (to Sinai), as do people who are aiding Hezbollah. The Sinai Peninsula is a vast area, and it is very difficult to control who enters it," he added.


Diskin also addressed the decrease in suicide bombing attempts over the past 6-7 years, saying "Hamas and Islamic Jihad led the suicide bombers' activity. Jihad has been all but eradicated in the West Bank as far as infrastructure is concerned. As for Hamas, it will try to launch suicide attacks if given the opportunity to do so – but it will do it through other organizations. It (Hamas) has not abandoned suicide bombings (as a means to attack Israel)."


Earlier this week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to form a plan outlining the transfer of goods to the Gaza Strip, in accordance with a new policy being devised by the government.


Katz's office said Sunday the new orders would apply to all of Gaza's border crossings, including air, water, and land. The plan will also be coordinated with security officials and the Egyptian government.


Israel currently allows the entrance of 100 trucks of supplies into the Strip on a daily basis. However some of the crossings, including Erez and Karni, have been closed and the state will now consider their reopening. 


פרסום ראשון: 06.15.10, 12:24
 new comment
This will delete your current comment