Israel Defense Establishment fears that day after publication of report on Hariri murder investigation, Hezbollah will drag Lebanon into bloodbath that will reach Israel
The tensions in Lebanon are growing as the release of recommendations by the international tribunal tasked with probing the Hariri murder nears.
Hezbollah has already made it clear that indications that it was involved in the murder would not go unanswered, leading Military Intelligence officials to express concerns on Tuesday that the group might seize control of Lebanese government institutions.
In a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee debate, senior Military Intelligence official Colonel Yossi Adler estimated that there is a small chance that the tensions will affect Israel. He noted that Hezbollah continues to arm itself with weapons that threaten Central Israel.
Adler presented a possible scenario of Lebanon the day after the report was published: "Dozens will be killed when Hezbollah uses force and takes over government institutions. In this case, there is a chance that the tensions would trickle in Israel's direction.
"Even though it has been four years since the end of the last war, the organization has a score to settle with Israel following the murder of Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh."
As an alternative to that harsh scenario, Adler presented another less extreme assessment. According to this scenario, Hezbollah will pressure Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the more moderate of the Arab nations to try and reach a compromise. Hezbollah, Adler warned, continues to build up its strength through cooperation with Syria and Iran and has advanced arms that can reach central Israel.
As for the relative quiet in the Gaza strip, Adler warned that Hamas "continues to examine options for carrying out kidnappings from areas which include Judea and Samaria". He also noted that in spite of the disastrous consequences of the Turkish flotilla, additional flotillas are still in the cards, but in his estimation – the motivation to dispatch such flotillas was lower than in the past.
Adler expressed skepticism over the chances that negotiations with the Palestinians would bear fruit and said that "there are no signs that a compromise between Hamas and Fatah is in the cards".
Discussing the West Bank leadership, Adler said that "they are continuing to demand a continued construction freeze and hold Israel responsible for the lack of negotiations".
And yet, he said he believes that the chances the Palestinians will carry out their threat and make a unilateral declaration of the establishment of a Palestinian state are very low. "Additional possibilities for methods that bypass negotiations are being examined but at this phase the Palestinians aren't interested in making a unilateral declaration of statehood".
Adler also mentioned Iran's nuclear progress and efforts being taken to inhibit it: "It is clear that Tehran isn't participating in the talks in order to show any measure of flexibility. They see Israel, the US and Britain as responsible for the assassination of one of their nuclear scientists."
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