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Israeli army and Shin Bet argue over course for Gaza truce

Aug. 8, 2008 3:12 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 8, 2008 3:12 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The truce between Israel and Hamas is approaching its two month mark, but the Israeli army and the Shin Bet (Israeli general security services) are still arguing over the best way to handle the current situation in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army insists on continuing the truce with Gaza, however, according to Israeli media sources, Shin Bet leader Yuval Diskin called on the army to be prepared for a military attack that covers the area.

The leadership of the Israeli army sees the truce as positively effecting the situation in the Negev and the areas close to the Gaza Strip since for the last few weeks there have been no projectile attacks

The leadership of the Shin Bet, on the other hand, is keen to launch a military attack on the Gaza Strip and said that the truce has been used by Hamas as a period of quiet in which to train Palestinian elements. The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported Friday that the Shin Bet believes any decrease in pressure on Gazans and Hamas is a decrease in the likelihood of an exchange deal for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

So far during the truce four sets of projectiles were launched from Gaza, which Israel to restrict the flow of goods in to the area. After successive days of calm borders were gradually re-opened but the level of goods transferred in is still less than the basic amounts that are needed according to the truce agreement.

Gazans have also been crying foul against the increase in Israeli presence in the West Bank as they claimed truce with Gaza.

The truce was complicated on 25 July when a car bomb killed four Hamas-affiliated leaders and one young girl, which sparked a series of arrests throught Gaza of Fatah-affiliated supporters. This lead to the 2 August street battle between the Fatah-supporting Hillis family and de facto Hamas police forces. Nine were killed in the battle and 107 injured and almost 200 Hillis family members fled Gaza for the West Bank, and many were treated in Israeli hospitals.

The internal complexity of the Gaza situation and the instability some claim will result is the point over which the Israeli army and the Shin Bet seem to be arguing.

Both sides presented these different opinions during political and security meetings held throughout the past month. Several meetings have been called to study the results of the truce, its affect on Israelis living in the Negev and future action.

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