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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Diskin: Weapons smuggling into Gaza has skyrocketed

We've heard these kinds of warnings from the Gaza Strip before and we heard them for six years from Lebanon and no one did anything about them. Will the government act? I doubt it. If this government were to act, it would be admitting that the unilateral surrender of the Gaza Strip and expulsion of its Jews last summer was a mistake. The question is, how quickly Olmert can be replaced and a more effective Prime Minister installed in his stead.

Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin reiterated on Tuesday at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Palestinian terrorist organizations were studying the Lebanese-Israeli war to learn how to play on Israel's weaker points.

Diskin said the West Bank has become increasingly violent, especially in the area of Samaria. Following last summer's withdrawal from the four communities in northern Samaria, the intelligence community has found it difficult to control the area and gather information.

"Samaria has become the land of Islamic Jihad following the disengagement," he said.

Weapons smuggling through the Rafah crossing has gone up exponentially since the pullout, Diskin warned, adding that "Rafah will soon be the garden of Eden of weapons smuggling."

He estimated that approximately 15,000 guns, 4 million bullets, 2,300 pistols, 38 rockets, dozens of anti-tank missiles, 15 tons of TNT, 400 RPGs, and 10-15 Katyushas like those used in Lebanon had been smuggled into Gaza from Egypt so far - and, he said, those are just the ones we know about.

After three to five years of this kind of weapons transfer, he warned, Israel will face a situation similar to south Lebanon.

"At this point, anybody who wants to smuggle something through the Philadelphi route can apparently do so," Diskin said. "You can smuggle anything through Philadelphi except maybe a tank or plane."

MK Natan Sharansky (Likud) responded to Diskin's report, saying, "For ten years, we've been hearing these types of reports, but there has never been such an immediate need for action. Every kind of weapon is getting into the Gaza Strip, and Hamas is establishing a terrorist army. It is no longer possible to say they didn't warn us."
Keep in mind that it was the anti-tank missiles that inflicted most of the casualties in Lebanon. Why doesn't anyone raise this issue with Egypt, the number three recipient of US foreign aid?


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