At the weekly Sunday cabinet meeting of the Israeli government, the Israeli intelligence chief, Yuval Diskin, warned that the Hamas terrorist organization is using this period of an agreed upon period of “calm” to beef up its forces. Since the “calm” period took effect on November 26th, the head of Israeli intelligence confirmed that Arabs have launched 17 missile attacks against the Jewish communities in the Western Negev region., while no Israeli attacks have been launched against the Arabs in Gaza.

The head of Israeli intelligence also warned that during this time, Hamas has imported advisors from regime in Iran.

Over the last few months, Hamas leaders have been flocking to Teheran in a show of support for the Iranian regime. Western diplomatic sources said the visits, unlike those until 2005, were prominent and meant to stress Hamas’s alliance with Iran.

“They [Israelis] assume the Palestinian nation is alone,” Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said. “This is an illusion. “We have a strategic depth in the Islamic republic of Iran. This country [Iran] is our powerful, dynamic and stable depth.”

Haniyeh made the statement on December 8 during a visit to Iran. It was Haniyeh’s first trip abroad since he became prime minister in March 2006.

The sources said Iran has significantly increased aid to Hamas in 2006. They said Hamas received more than $120 million in Iranian aid, much of it for the development of its military force in the Gaza Strip.

During his current visit, Haniyeh met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and was scheduled to meet supreme leader Ali Khamenei on Sunday. Haniyeh’s visit to Teheran followed that of Hamas leader Khaled Masha’al as well as PA Interior Minister Said Siyam.

During an address at Teheran University on December 8th, Haniyeh pledged that despite U.S. pressure the Hamas-led PA would never recognize Israel. He said Palestinians would continue to wage war against the Jewish state.

“The world arrogance [United States] and Zionists want us to recognize the usurpation of the Palestinian lands and stop holy war and resistance and accept the agreements reached with the Zionist enemies in the past,” Haniyeh said during his four-day visit. “I’m insisting from this podium that these issues won’t materialize. We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our holy war movement until the liberation of Jerusalem.”

The Cabinet Secretary of the Israeli government was asked if Israel would allow Haniyeh to return to Gaza.. His answer: “He will return through Rafah, where we have no control”. However, the Egyptian government does have control over that border crossing, as do the observers from the European Union. Egypt has authority to act. The EU has no authority to act. Sources in the Israeli government indicate that Egypt will not exert any effort to stop the Hamas ally of Iran from “coming home”.

Middle East News Line assisted in this news story