MI head Ze'evi warns of northern border escalation
Tensions on the northern border could escalate in the coming months and lead to artillery barrages and attempts to abduct Israeli soldiers, the outgoing head of Military Intelligence, Major General Aharon Ze'evi, warned yesterday.
Making his final appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ze'evi said the risk of the northern border heating up stems from Iranian-Syrian influence on Hezbollah to initiate action against Israel. Any Syrian involvement in Hezbollah activity against Israel would then necessitate an Israeli response.
Ze'evi said Iran's motivation for spurring Hezbollah to attack Israel is international pressure calling on Tehran to halt development of its nuclear program; Syria's motivation comes from U.S. pressure on President Bashar Assad.
Ze'evi said diplomatic pressure on Iran has delayed its nuclear aspirations by two years, but Iran remains determined to secretly pursue nuclear weapons, which would pose a real threat to the West.
He said Iran recently obtained 12 Russian cruise missiles with a 3,000-kilometer range capable of carrying nuclear warheads. These missiles were among 18 missiles transported from Ukraine to Russia, but 12 of them ended up in Iran and six reached China.
Ze'evi also warned that Palestinian terrorist groups could manage in the coming year to smuggle anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and Katyusha rockets into the Gaza Strip that would alter the balance of power. The IDF must prepare for such a possibility, he said, since terrorist groups are making ceaseless efforts to get such weapons into the Strip, despite serious counter-efforts by Egypt and the PA.
Ze'evi said PA Chairman Abbas has reached his limit in being able to influence events in the territories, adding that Hamas will control the Gaza Strip and Fatah will control the West Bank in the near future.