Ex-Shin Bet officer says terror group increasing activity in West Bank with limited options in Gaza
Hamas is increasingly pushing for conflict in the West Bank with limited options for attacking Israel from the Gaza Strip, a former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officer told i24NEWS.
“I believe that Israel is doing everything to deal with this issue. Hamas is in terrible shape in Gaza. They are blocked by a very effective underground border barrier so the only action they can take against Israel is firing rockets, which could lead to conflict with Israel,” said Adi Karmi.
“Part of their preparations for such a scenario is raising tensions in the West Bank — recruiting people, funding and maximizing their options to extend future conflicts into the West Bank and Jerusalem.”
The veteran who has spent decades dealing with internal security issues in relation to the Palestinians sat down recently with “Strictly Security” host Yoav Limor to offer his insights into the situation.
Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank who were released in the Gilad Shalit deal with Israel are now living in the Gaza Strip and are using their personal connections in the West Bank to send money to help organize local Hamas terrorist cells, Karmi explained.
The Shin Bet says that the domestic security and intelligence service prevents about 500 terrorist attacks against Israel every year.
Hamas is also active in other countries, including Turkey and Lebanon, in efforts to recruit terrorists, Karmi emphasized.
Israel’s best option for the West Bank, according to Karmi, is to support Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, because Israel and the PA both have a common interest in keeping Hamas contained.
“If Hamas were to take over the West Bank then people who enjoy relative freedom in Ramallah and Nablus” will be subject to fundamentalist Islamic rule, Karmi said.
Israel needs to build up the PA for when Abbas is gone by investing in the region’s economy and increasing security cooperation, he stressed.