Tuesday, December 29, 2009

“Shalit Deal a Slap in the Face for Abbas; a Great Achievement for Hamas”


"29/12/2009 Closing the Shalit deal will be a great achievement for Hamas but it will not bring down Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Shin Bet security chief Yuval Diskin said Monday.

Speaking to Israeli ambassadors gathered at the Foreign Ministry, Diskin said the Shin Bet security service does not believe a third intifada is about to break out in the territories at this stage. "The Shalit deal would be a slap in the face for Abbas and a great public opinion achievement for Hamas," Diskin said. He was answering Dorit Shavit, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's Deputy Director General for Latin America, who asked how the Shalit deal would effect Abbas' status.

"But on the other hand, Abbas realizes this is going to happen and is preparing himself for it. In any case, it won't topple him," he said.

Diskin did not refer to the release of Palestinian detainees in exchange for Shalit, but hinted at his position on releasing the former Fatah secretary in the occupied West Bank, Marwan Barghouti. "Barghouti was the spirit behind the second intifada, not Arafat as people tend to think," he said. "The problem is that the intifada spun out of his control."

Diskin spoke about the present situation in the Palestinian Authority and the shaky relations between Hamas and Fatah. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are more divided today than ever before, he said.

"Abbas is weak but there is no substitute for him at this stage. Abbas painted himself into a corner because he thought the Americans would bring him everything he wanted on a silver platter, and if there's no one to extract him from that corner he may really resign," he said......."

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