Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06TELAVIV204
2006-01-13 13:25:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

ISA CHIEF DISKIN SAYS HAMAS TO DO WELL IN PA

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 000204 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/13/2016
TAGS: ECON KWBG PGOV PINR IS ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: ISA CHIEF DISKIN SAYS HAMAS TO DO WELL IN PA
ELECTIONS

Classified By: Ambassador Richard H. Jones, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 000204

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/13/2016
TAGS: ECON KWBG PGOV PINR IS ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: ISA CHIEF DISKIN SAYS HAMAS TO DO WELL IN PA
ELECTIONS

Classified By: Ambassador Richard H. Jones, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Summary: NEA A/S David Welch and DAPNSA Elliott
Abrams met on January 12 met with Israel Security Agency
(Shin Bet) Chief Yuval Diskin, who gave an assessment of the
January 25 Palestinian elections and developments inside
Fatah and Hamas. Diskin said that the most probable election
scenario would be Hamas winning 35-40 percent of the vote.
He said that Hamas wants to take over the Ministries of
Health, Education, and Welfare, which would allow them to
strengthen the organization,s capabilities and to finance
activities in both Gaza and the West Bank, but is content to
leave the peace process to Mahmud Abbas. Diskin said that
worried Fatah activists have come to him or otherwise sent
messages to the Shin Bet, asking that the GOI help postpone
the elections. Diskin said that anarchy on election day
could derail the vote. He expects, nonetheless, that there
will be an election and indicated that Shin Bet is looking
carefully at "day after" scenarios. End summary.

--------------
Hamas to do well in PA elections
--------------


2. (C) NEA A/S David Welch and DAPNSA Elliott Abrams met
January 12 with Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Chief Yuval
Diskin to hear the Israeli assessment regarding the January
25 Palestinian elections and developments inside Fatah and
Hamas. Diskin said that the Palestinian municipal elections,
where Hamas did well, could be a predictor of results in the
January 25 voting. He said the most probable result is Hamas
winning 35-40 percent. A scenario that is also probable is
Hamas winning either a majority or getting enough seats to
form a formidable block, he said. The least likely result,
Diskin said, would be Hamas getting less than 25 percent of
the vote. Based on the fact that Hamas currently has no
seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council and likely will
receive 30-40 percent, Diskin said that Hamas will be the
"winner" in the elections. And once in, he said, Hamas will
increase its influence. Diskin said that Hamas could
technically form a coalition with left wing candidates, who

could win seven seats. He said that Mustafa Barghouti,s
faction looks set to win six seats, and Salam Fayyad,s would
win several as well, but will align with Fatah. Diskin said
that Fatah may do well in the national proportional
elections, but will lose badly in regional (district) voting.
He believes that 6-12 seats are still up for grabs, while
one poll puts as many as 40 seats in that category.


3. (C) Diskin said that it is not clear how soon after the
elections Hamas will enter the PA. Intelligence shows that
Hamas, goal is to take over the Ministries of Health,
Education, and Welfare, which would allow them to strengthen
the organization,s capabilities and to finance activities in
both Gaza and the West Bank. He said that Hamas is content
to leave the peace process to Mahmud Abbas, but Abbas will
have to take into consideration Hamas, position. Diskin
said that Mahmud Abbas is a weak leader with no party
apparatus and contrasted that with Hamas, which is well
organized and operates based on compromises with its
headquarters in Damascus.

-------------- --------------
Fatah Activists Approached GOI to Postpone Elections
-------------- --------------


4. (C) Diskin said that Fatah is fearful as the election
approaches. Most activists are very worried about the
results, with the older generation afraid they will lose
their seats and younger candidates concerned about losing to
Hamas in the regional elections. Diskin said that senior
Fatah activists have been coming to Shin Bet, as well as
communicating through back channels, to convey their message
of concern. He said that these activists want the GOI to "do
their dirty work" and postpone the elections. For example,
Diskin said, a worried Muhammad Dahlan came to see him a few
days earlier seeking help from Israel,s political leadership
in postponing the elections. Diskin said that Dahlan told
him that according to Dahlan,s polls, Fatah would receive 52
seats and Hamas would receive 50-52 seats. Meanwhile, a
confident Hamas, Diskin said, wants the elections to take
place on schedule.


5. (C) Diskin said that the one Fatah leader that wants the
elections to be held as planned is Marwan Barghouti, who will
"win" in any scenario. Diskin said that Barghouti will
likely be the most important Fatah figure coming out of the
elections, and the jailed activist thinks his victory in the
elections could lead to his release. Diskin said, however,
that he is not sure that Barghouti has a good picture of the
situation on the ground, despite the flow of visitors the
jailed activist has received.


6. (C) Diskin said that anarchy on election day could cause
the situation to deteriorate quickly and keep the elections
from being held. He said that it is unclear how rebel
factions, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, will act on
election day. Diskin said that Hamas wants to get an
agreement from these groups that they will keep the situation
calm so that the elections can go ahead.

--------------
Hamas May Have to Deal with Terror Policy
--------------


7. (C) Diskin said that if Hamas does well in the elections,
it might have to deal with its terror policy and modify it.
(Interestingly, he also said, but did not dwell on it, that
if Hamas did poorly "less than 25 percent" it might revert to
violence.) Hamas will have to be more disciplined and
sophisticated. Diskin predicted that Hamas would want a
"good price" to give up terror, such as legitimacy in the
eyes of the international community. He said that no one
should recognize Hamas until they agree to abandon terrorism
and disarm. Diskin said he does not believe that Hamas will
agree to disarm its military wing, but it might try to
downplay the display of weapons and tell activists not to
carry arms on the street. He said that Hamas is likely to
stay quiet and not carry out terrorist attacks for the next
few months. Nevertheless, Hamas is worried that it could
lose young activists to the global jihad. He admitted he was
very focused on the period before the Israeli elections, and
thought that Hamas would continue its quiet during this
period.


8. (C) Diskin said that the GOI will have to be cautious
about how it reacts if rockets are launched or if militants
carry out an attack. He offered that the situation is very
sensitive because there is a new prime minister and the
public is watching what he will do.

--------------
Anarchy in Gaza
--------------


9. (C) Diskin said that there is real anarchy in Gaza and
the Palestinian security forces are helpless. Diskin said
that Hamas is trying to export to the West Bank its know-how
on building rockets and tries to smuggle suicide bombers to
Israel, although the ISA has had good success in blocking
them. He also said that Hamas is digging a tunnel to the
Karni passage in order to blow it up. Diskin said that there
are a lot of problems in Rafah and weapons are being smuggled
in from Sinai. He said that the Egyptians promise to stop
the smuggling, but do nothing.


10. (C) A/S Welch and DPNSA Abrams have cleared this cable.


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