Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that the Israeli Army will advise the Israeli government to release additional Palestinian detainees in an attempt to strengthen the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A Senior Israeli army official told Haaretz that the General Staff of the Israeli army believes that the move should only be made after the meeting between Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister.

Also, the source added that the army strongly supports the Israeli assault against Hamas and the attempts to bar it from participating in the Palestinian Legislative elections.

The General Staff believes that if Israel frees Palestinian detainees, Abbas’ position among the Palestinians will improve, since the release will be considered an achievement which Abbas made through dialogue, while Hamas which tried to achieve prisoners’ release through kidnapping Israel soldiers and attacks, has not achieved any release of detainees.

“The army believes that the release of Palestinian detainees is also in Israel’s interest”, Haaretz reported.

Yet, the official said that the release should be based on a certain criteria which should be carefully examined, especially the detainees who are involved in killing Israelis.

The army believes that the P.A started conducting efforts to counter Hamas after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and arrested several members of the movement for bearing weapons in public areas.

The arrest led to a gun battle between Hamas fighters and P.A security; three Palestinians were killed, dozens were injured. 

Also, the officials said that the Israeli “retaliation” and harsh response to the firing of homemade shells has “borne fruit”. On Sunday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed three Palestinians near the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel; resistance groups did not retaliate.

According to an Israeli security officer, the P.A and Hamas understand that the situation has changed after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army supports conducting a diplomatic campaign against Hamas in order to force it choose between entering Palestinian politics or “choose to remain a terrorist organization”, according to a senior army source.

“The Israeli demand that Hamas should either disarm or be barred from participating in the elections has won the US support”, Haaretz reported, “It even won the support of some European governments”.

The General Staff at the Israeli army believes that if Washington, namely George Bush backs Israel’s position regarding Hamas, Abbas and the P.A will be forced to make a decision. 

The General Staff also believes that if the Palestinian Authority makes the disarmament as a condition for running the elections, Hamas will not resume its attacks since the Palestinian Public is currently against them, the senior army official said.